By 2012, 108 million U.S. consumers are expected to use mobile banking, according to a white paper from Fiserv.
That projection encompasses use of mobile devices for everything from receiving mobile financial alerts and monitoring account balances to viewing statements and transferring funds between accounts.
The white paper, “How to Achieve a Compelling ROI From Mobile Financial Services,” notes some of the demographic and user trends in mobile banking. It also provides advice for financial institutions on how to provide mobile services going forward.
Among the suggestions are 10 key criteria for selecting a mobile financial services solution:
1. Flexible enrollment: The ability to enroll people offline or via mobile and online channels allows them to access the service at their point of preference. And it enables your credit union to drive members from more expensive channels to mobile self-service.
2. Triple-play solution: Your credit union should be able to deliver banking services via multiple access modes, including short message service (SMS), wireless application protocol (WAP), and downloadable applications from one provider—natively integrated and built on one platform.
3. Consolidated enterprise platform: You might start with deploying member-initiated and credit union-generated SMS alerts. But you shouldn’t have to acquire a separate vendor’s solution to deliver mobile banking via a downloadable or WAP application.
The platform should enable you to deploy multiple mobile financial services and capabilities across multiple lines of business.
4. Adaptable and scalable solution: A comprehensive mobile financial services solution gives your credit union flexibility. It enables you to take advantage of new capabilities, support new channels and evolutionary changes in devices, or serve diverse customer segments and lines of business through integrated, multichannel banking processes.
5. Extended functionality: Your credit union’s mobile solution should allow extending tailored functionality to meet the needs of diverse member segments and multiple lines of business. This is particularly true for emerging mobile payment models.
Next: Mobilizing and streamlining business processes
6. Mobilizing and streamlining business processes: Make sure the solution supports multiple banking channels. It should allow your credit union to “mobilize” enterprise banking processes to reduce customer care costs while improving efficiency and customer satisfaction.
These are best automated through one- or two-way mobile alerts.
7. Proven for premium services: Your mobile solution should provide all the basic banking transaction capabilities you expect in a mobile banking solution. But it should also scale to meet members’ expanding expectations.
The solution should have proven built-in mobile payments capabilities and offer the ability to take advantage of new capabilities in support of peer-to-peer payments, contactless payments, downloadable applications, expedited payments, and channel marketing programs, among others.
8. Integrated: Make sure your credit union’s mobile solution is built on an integrated platform that lowers the total cost of ownership and interfaces with core banking, online banking, and electronic billing and payment systems.
It should provide the credit union with a holistic view of member needs through consolidated customer care, comprehensive reporting across the online and mobile channels, incident diagnosis, security monitoring, and customer support.
9. Brand-centric: Look for solutions that extend brand attributes across the mobile channel while leveraging the existing security infrastructure, including existing credential management capabilities.
10. Multiple deployment options: Make sure the system provides flexibility to choose the mobile banking deployment option—in-house software or hosted service provider version—that best meets your credit union’s needs.
Many financial institutions are taking an ad hoc approach to providing mobile services, notes the Fiserv report. But this same approach with online banking ultimately proved ineffective.
“They cobbled together online banking and bill-pay functionality from different vendors—often with surprisingly little thought given to integration, user experience, flexibility, features, and scalability,” the report says. “Some in the industry thought it was enough to ‘check the box’ and provide basic online banking functionality—without having an overall online channel optimization strategy. In time, this type of fragmented approach rarely leads to success.”
There are lessons to learn from these past cobbled solutions, says Fiserv. “Mobile financial services have the potential to transform not only the way consumers interact with their financial institutions, but also to radically change the way they pay for goods and services and exchange money with other individual consumers.
“By taking a broader vision and creating an integrated mobile financial services strategy, “institutions can tap into mobile’s potential to help them achieve the organization’s broader strategic goals around cost reduction, right-channeling, and deposit gathering.”