Those not as popular yet as on the consumer side, mobile banking for businesses will continue to grow in popularity in the coming years, according to a panel discussion at the Payments 2012 industry conference hosted by NACHA - The Electronic Payments Association.
Matthew Richardson, SVP, head of product solutions for RBS Citizens, said the percentage of corporate entities using mobile banking for business purposes is "growing rapidly." Richardson cited a statistic stating that in 2013, companies with revenues from $20 million to $3 billion will conduct a total of $300 billion worth of transactions via a mobile device.
Richardson said the most frequent and vocal RBS customers who use corporate mobile banking tend to be senior level executives at large companies; usually those with the title of Treasurer, VP of Finance or CFO. Interestingly, Richardson noted that the mobile technology used in large companies still tends to be BlackBerry or Android, rather than Apple.
Taylor Vaughan, director, treasury management products for First Tennessee Bank, noted that large businesses are more likely to use a mobile phone and tablet as a sales and payment device, but remain at the traditional desk to conduct most work. Small businesses, on the other hand, are more likely to use mobile devices to "operate their business on the go," he said. Vaughan added that the most common features corporate customers use mobile banking for are to check balances and look up the status of transactions.
Banks that offer a robust mobile business banking offering are also more apt to create more loyal and engaged customers, added Greg Keenan, a principal consultant for enterprise software company Sybase.
Keenan said it is critical that banks don't "just offer what's on the online banking channel" for its mobile product. He recommended utilizing SMS banking features in a mobile offering, particularly SMS alerts. As an example, a treasurer could receive a text alert reminding him to approve a wire transfer that is scheduled, which he could then log into the mobile banking app and perform.
Keenan noted that security concerns are still a big obstacle to widespread mobile adoption by businesses, but he likened the current climate to that of online banking's nascent stages in the 90s. Ultimately, people got past the initial security concerns, and he believes the same shift will occur with regard to mobile banking.
Still, Keenan reminded the audience that security in the mobile arena should never be overlooked.
"Authentication into mobile apps should be protected by the same secure logon credentials available via the online channel," he said.