Kiss Your App Goodbye?

Why advanced mobile browser capabilities might be a better bet than applications for some financial activities.


In just five short years, mobile app technology has created a wealth of new capabilities, streamlined efficiency, and even boosted earnings at institutions all across the country.

One example is First Financial Credit Union ($66M, Skokie, IL). According to the Wall Street Journal, this credit union’s recent investment in an eSignature option to close loans through its mobile app effectively doubled loan volumes within the first month of its release.

Yet despite the many success stories out there, applications may not always be the most cost-effective option for every task, nor are they the members’ preferred choice for every type of activity.

That’s why, according to, University of Wisconsin Credit Union ($1.7B, Madison, WI) is bucking the app trend and instead focusing on incorporating advanced capabilities like remote deposit capture within mobile browsers.

Part of the logic behind this strategy has to do with how apps are used, especially when it comes to the type of in-depth financial activities that credit unions typically want to focus on.

According to the Adobe 2013 Mobile Consumer Survey, 52% of users preferred apps to browsers for reviewing their banking information. Yet browsers still won over the majority of users for more complex or time-consuming tasks like researching or shopping for a financial account (71%) and applying for a financial account/product (67%).

The second motivating factor for browser-based investments is a financial one. According to Mashable, while app costs vary greatly, institutions can expect to spend at least $30,000 on a basic option, with more advanced apps easily reaching into the six-figure range. By comparison, browser-based options are much cheaper and can be used on an even wider range of devices.

At the end of the day, the debate is not about choosing one channel over the other — the reality is that most institutions need both. Instead, it's about carefully thinking through which mobile features need to be included (and where) in order to create the most value for your members and the institution.

According to the Netbanker article, even University of Wisconsin CU has stated that member demand will eventually require it to create a basic app with some simple functionality. But by keeping these app capabilities streamlined and focused, and thus cheaper to develop and maintain, the credit union can apply extra IT dollars to an even wider range of remote products and services.


Oct. 25, 2013



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