October 13, 2010

Many mobile banking applications have a "cumbersome setup, slow data transfer and kludgy technology," reports user experience research company Change Sciences Group, which has just come out with a study of mobile banking onboarding.

Researchers visited the websites of ten large banks and attempted to sign up for mobile banking. They found several shortcomings along the way: 90% of the sites, they say, lack content that users consider persuasive, 60% of sites fail to answer at least one question that users have and 30% of sites are hard to navigate. Bank of America, Citibank and Wells Fargo fared best in the test, meaning users experienced fewer problems with navigation and content.

These are interesting findings for banks that want to get more customers to use their mobile banking channel; getting the customer to actually sign up is a critical step.

"Consumers are wary of new technologies, expecting set-up hassles that outweigh the benefits of the service," says Steve Ellis, partner and one of the report authors. "With mobile banking, the pool of early adopters is shrinking. The burden is now on banks to make mobile banking set-up clear and easy."

In Change Science's next report, it will test banks' mobile banking services using an Android device, Ellis says.