Thanks to the prevalence of smartphones — the Pew Research Center says 68% of Americans now own them — mobile banking is becoming more important than ever. While it is easy to get caught up in specific channels and features, credit unions should remember that mobile banking is about fitting into the experience expectations of their members. In order to keep current members and attract new ones, products should effortlessly integrate themselves into members’ lives.
In today’s market of startups, fintech, and constantly evolving platforms, it’s healthy for credit unions to perform an annual analysis of their mobile banking platforms, even if migrating to a new platform is not an initiative for that particular year. It’s also important not to get roped into any solution that is newer to market. Smaller startups might be able to give credit unions the attention they need, but they have yet to prove their scalability and support models.
There are several trends credit unions can expect to see now and moving into 2017 as it relates to mobile banking. Rewards are enormously important, and will continue to be so. In a landscape of consistent functionality, credit unions that make their rewards program easiest to access, track and redeem will win. Members are looking for more-sophisticated notifications and alert solutions to be integrated into the mobile banking experience, along with card controls and locks. And biometric login has now become an expectation rather than a “nice to have.”
Let’s assume that you’re now firmly seated on the mobile banking train. That is to say that you’re preparing to perform an analysis of your mobile banking platform and may even have plans to move to a new platform, if needed. You have done your research on trends to watch and feel confident you will be able to navigate your credit union through the twists and turns of the mobile banking environment. Not so fast — credit unions often make similar types of mistakes when developing a mobile app platform:
A Cyclical Issue
There is a strong desire to integrate via APIs into existing platforms, but budget and time considerations sometimes cause credit unions to give up entirely or pursue standalone solutions. A custom integration project to add a single feature such as alerts could cost thousands of dollars. As a result, credit unions will often take shortcuts by “linking” to apps, which launches users to a standalone app from their mobile banking app, resulting in a clunky user experience.
Responsive Vs. Native
Over-reliance on responsive design versus native is common. Many aspects of development validate a responsive approach: it’s less costly, more reusable, and does not require app store updates. However, the benefits of responsive design are 100% for the business, not the consumer. A healthy balance of interactive design and native development should be paired with responsive design to create a more pleasant end-user experience.
Pick And Choose
There’s a misconception that mobile apps should be designed to emulate website functionality, and vice versa. Credit unions should pick and choose features for their mobile app instead of overwhelming users with every feature, bell, and whistle imaginable.
Mobile is a difficult channel to treat as its own source of revenue and should not be considered as such. It should instead be a means of increasing usage and accessibility of existing lines of revenue. This mindset often kills mobile projects and initiatives, as credit unions are not able to fully grasp the right metrics to track.
Smartphones are now required devices for most consumers. It’s difficult if not impossible to go anywhere without seeing people absorbed in a variety of activities in and on their phones. Since this behavior is not likely to change anytime soon, credit unions should strive to determine how to enhance the member experience with mobile.
Mobile should not be viewed as an end in and of itself. A mobile strategy should not be based solely on the specific products offered. Instead, applications should fit into the consumer experience right now. The challenge — and the key to success when it comes to mobile — is determining where members are in their lifestyles, what’s important to them, and how mobile can help support those things.
Jeremiah Lotz is, VP, Digital Experience & Payments at PSCU. He directs PSCU's initiatives to empower the company's Member-Owner credit unions with innovative and engaging eCommerce solutions. Jeremiah leads an experienced team dedicated to delivering PSCU's electronic banking, mobile banking and online bill payment services. Jeremiah also manages the strategic relationships PSCU forges with leading payments technology providers to ensure Member-Owners have access to world-class platforms and solutions that build profitability and loyalty.