Year 2013 was in some ways a year that created the foundation for rapid mobile banking growth in the coming years. An Accenture study found that adoption increased in the US by 50%. This growth shows no sign of slowing, as Forrester Research predicts that U.S. mobile banking users will double in the next five years, reaching 108 million by 2017.
Looking back at 2013, we can see several trends driving mobile banking adoption. The first is the continued penetration of smart devices. A recent Pew Research study showed that smart phone ownership reached 55% while tablet ownership is at 42%. There is still major growth ahead for mobile banking to follow and exceed that trend line as the Fed Reserve reported that only 21% of smartphone users are mobile banking users.
The second trend propelling adoption was the hot product – mobile check deposit. The service first introduced in 2011 by USAA and then by Chase, has quickly become the capability touted by every bank large and small. This increased awareness of mobile banking overall and converted consumers, as mobile check deposit is truly a differentiated offering that is unavailable through online channels. Mobile check deposit exploded because it is more convenient than having to visit a branch. This has created the pathway for so called ‘image banking’ where banks are now looking at multiple opportunities for consumer and corporates to use mobile devices for image capture and processing.
The third major trend is the continued increase of ‘mobile only’ or ‘mobile first’ banking users. A study by the Nielsen Company showed that 40% of online banking happens on smartphones or tablets. As mobile becomes the channel of choice banks and financial institutions are being forced to rethink their strategy and investments around product development and customer experience.
Fourth trend was the introduction of ‘Omnichannel’ as the lexicon of banking, which is all about providing a seamless customer experience. The adoption of mobile banking is forcing banks to accelerate efforts on how to provide this capability. There are two facets in play here: one how to provide customers with a consistent experience whether accessing their bank via a mobile, tablet or visiting a branch in person. The second and perhaps more fundamental shift is with the rise of mobile only users, banks are rapidly trying to provide product and services on smart device only. Customers are showing that they want to complete a transaction on one channel only – not start an interaction on mobile and be forced to go online or branch to complete it.
If 2013 was a year when mobile banking took strong roots, then 2014 will be a year of action where Mobile banking will scale newer heights on the back of new features, functionalities and approaches to provide a personalized banking experience for consumers.