October 22, 2013

Most banks have a few years of experience in mobile banking now and are looking ahead to what their next upgrades to mobile will be. The question facing all of these institutions and their IT teams is how can they get the most out of their mobile channel, says Vijai Shankar, director of product marketing at Kony, a mobile applications developer.

It’s vital that banks take full use of the capabilities that mobile offers because mobile transactions are the cheapest for the bank to process, Shankar argues. For example, banks save an average of $4.15 in processing costs for every check that is deposited through mobile rather than the branch, according to a report released earlier this year by Javelin.

[See Related: Banks Can Save $1.5 Billion Through Adoption of Digital Channels, Study Says]

And banks are well aware that demographics are going to push them to improve their mobile apps and services. “There is already a large population of Gen X and Gen Y customers who are mobile-only… and that population will continue to grow over time,” Shankar notes.

To build upon current mobile offerings, banks need to look at mobile from a convenience standpoint, even when working on security, Shankar says. “We are now firmly in the customer experience world [in mobile]. Everything you do from a security standpoint has to be balanced with the experience,” he explains.

Although banks often struggle with balancing security and convenience, over time biometric authentication will provide a path to making mobile more secure and more convenient simultaneously, Shankar predicts.

However, voice biometric technology hasn’t reached the stage yet where it can be trusted 100% for authentication, he advises. “There is a significant issue with false positives, such as, say, I’m speaking in a noisy location. This issue can be circumvented by offering a back-up authentication method,” he adds.

In order to maximize customer experience with mobile, banks must take a more collaborative approach within their organization, Shankar counsels. Too often, he says, the mobile team is separate from the team’s working on other channels, creating a disjointed customer experience, he observes. It’s also helpful to have a multi-channel solution with the same code base, he notes. Breaking down the silos that separate mobile teams from the rest of the organization will ensure that a customer has a consistent experience when starting a task in one channel and then finishing it another, Shankar explains.

Lastly, banks need to find move past using mobile to cut costs and improve customer experience, and actually use it as a channel to grow revenue through value-added services, Shankar says. Mobile photo bill pay is a perfect example of a service that not all customers are going to use but some will be willing to pay for, he suggests. Another example he offers is immediate access of funds from a mobile deposit for a fee.

And although mobile payments are still nascent, Shankar says banks shouldn’t be shy about moving towards a wallet solution by offering a loyalty app comparable to Apple’s Passbook. Banks can use such an app to incentivize their credit or debit cards, and can incorporate geo-location data form the mobile device to make immediate and relevant coupons and offers.

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, ...