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Is Mobile Banking Ready For Business?

Lingering obstacles related to security and functionality are all that stand in the way of widespread adoption of corporate mobile banking.

Tablets The Key?

Another reason for the less-than-overwhelming adoption of mobile by corporate customers is the form factor of mobile phones, Kerr believes. He says the small screen of a phone is not the optimal setting for consuming the large amounts of information that a corporate treasurer looks at on a daily basis. "That small form factor is a little challenging," Kerr notes.

However, the rise of tablets could be the solution to this, he says. In addition to capabilities such as the ability to process payments and deliver cash reporting, a mobile app that a bank is offering to its business customers should be able to "deliver real tools that simplify the life of a corporate treasurer," Kerr says. "The tablet then starts to become a much stronger form factor."

The tablet could give a treasurer or executive the ability to perform "actionable BI [business intelligence]," says Kerr, such as providing key performance indicators of the state of the business, account balances in different currencies, and many of the functions the bank already provides its business clients in an online environment.

That's what separates the tablet in corporate mobile banking from the mobile phone, which Kerr says is "more appropriate for receiving critical alerts and things like that."

RBS Citizens' Gifas agrees on the massive potential of the tablet for corporate use. "We do think the tablet is going to transform things even more," he says.

[5 Critical Strategies for Mobile Banking Security]

Gifas is also quick to point out that RBS Citizens has made it a priority to be very "device nimble" and not just create apps with a specific device in mind. "The tablet is what we are talking about today, but I am sure there is something around the corner that will be a little different and faster and better," he says.

Mercator's McGinnis is another believer in the tablet as the device to revolutionize corporate mobile banking. "I think tablets are a significantly more appealing platform for corporate mobile than phones," she says. "They are very appealing."

With the help of tablets, McGinnis believes that mobile in the corporate space will eventually become as popular as it is for consumers.

"I would say everybody is moving a little more cautiously in the corporate space than in the consumer space because there are larger amounts of money moving, and the technology is evolving so fast," McGinnis says. But she is confident that mobile will become an indispensable channel for corporate customers in the near future.

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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