November 07, 2013

Several leading banks shared some of their experiences, challenges and lessons learned at BAI Retail Delivery 2013 today at a panel discussion titled “Mobile Influencers: Lessons Learned, Mobile Today, Mobile Tomorrow.” Some of the key themes that emerged from the discussion included the evolving relationship between online and mobile banking, the growing value of mobile check deposit and the use of mobile coupons and shopping offers.

Online vs. Mobile

When BB&T released it’s first mobile app in 2010, Sumit Depshande, the bank’s VP of mobile channel and online account opening services, challenged his team to treat mobile and online distinctly. “Imagine online and the PC doesn’t exist. Imagine everyone only had a mobile device to access the internet,” he told them.

Depshande said it was important for the bank to avoid simply copying its online services over in the mobile channel. The mobile channel needed to offer a different experience tailored and optimized for the form factor, he related.

“Whether or not to tether mobile to online will become a bigger issue for banks,” Teresa Epperson, a managing director at AlixPartners, remarked during the discussion. “Younger customers simply don’t care about online. They want to manage their money in real time. If they get a bill, they want to take out their phone and pay it right then.”

Encouraging adoption of the mobile channel will become more central to banks moving forward, and that will require banks to see the mobile channel as independent of the online channel, she advised.

Mobile Check Deposit

Interestingly two of the banks represented on the panel, U.S. Bank and Regions Bank, both charge their customers 50 cents for using mobile check deposit.

[For More On Mobile Check Deposit Check Out: How to Reach the Underbanked with Mobile Check Deposit]

“We’ve wrestled with that fee that we charge for mobile deposit - who to waive it for and when,” Chris Peper, U.S. Bank’s VP of mobile channel management.

Despite this concern over the fee, U.S. Bank has seen steadily growing adoption of its mobile check deposit offering, Peper reported.

Regions Bank has even found that its customers are willing to pay extra for instant availability of funds with mobile check deposit, for which the bank charges 3% of the value of the check.

“Most of our mobile depositors typically pay more than the 50 cent baseline fee for the instant availability. we’ve found that customers are willing to pay for that, especially small business owners,” Stephen Lamar, Regions’ SVP, ebusiness product, channel management.

Mobile Shopping Offers

Regions also partnered with Cardlytics to offer personalized coupons and shopping offers to its customers via mobile and online. The service has proved popular, Lamar reported: customers were allowed to opt out of the service, but only one percent of the customers did so. And the service helps the bank generate revenue through its mobile offering.

For many banks, mobile coupon offers based on customers behavior or geo-location data offer a first step toward a mobile wallet, AlixPartners’ Teresa Epperson said.

“Our research shows that customers don’t care about the ability to pay with their phone. It’s these sort of added capabilities to the shopping experience that interest them,” she noted.

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, ...