April 04, 2013

Banks know that mobile consumers are demand convenience from their mobile banking apps, and Bank of the West is trying to meet that demand with a new feature it has rolled out called Quick Balance. The feature is part of the bank’s new set of mobile apps released yesterday for iOS and Android, and allows consumers to quickly check their account balances without having to log in to the apps. Instead when a customer opens their Bank of the West app, they simply pull down from the top of the touchscreen and their current account balance appears in a couple of seconds.

In an announcement released yesterday, Bank of the West cited 2012 research from AlixPartners, a consulting firm, that noted that the ability to check balances with a mobile device was the most desired feature by mobile banking customers looking to switch banks. The bank wanted to make this common mobile banking task as simple as possible, says Jamie Armistead, the bank’s senior vice president of multichannel banking. “It’s about pairing the ubiquity of the mobile phone - the customers always has it on them - with the basic need of knowing how much money you have in your account,” Armistead explains.

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Banks have to continually strive for making tasks easy and intuitive in today’s mobile environment, Armistead remarks. “Customers’ expectations are now set by the apps they use everyday - like their Facebook and Google apps,” he says.

Customers have to enable the read-only Quick Balance feature to use it for security purposes, Armistead notes. The bank also doesn’t store any account numbers, balances or transaction information on the phone, he adds. Additionally, the bank can also recognize a customer’s mobile device on the first log-in so it knows if someone is trying to log in to the customers account from another device, he says.

In the last 6 weeks since the launch of their new mobile apps, Bank of the West has doubled its active mobile users, and tripled its number of mobile log-ins, Armistead reports. And about 75% of its mobile users that have Quick Balance enabled are checking their balance daily with the new feature, he adds.

The bank worked with Fiserv to release its new mobile apps on the vendor’s Mobiliti platform, and added several new capabilities beyond the Quick Balance feature. The bank’s mobile customers will now be able to deposit checks with their smartphones, pay bills with their mobile device and transfer funds between their various accounts with the bank, according to the bank’s statement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonathan Camhi is a graduate of the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism, where he focused on international reporting and interned at the Hindustan Times in Delhi, ...