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Taking Mobile Mainstream

A new Forrester report examines the current state of mobile banking.

Though mobile banking has seen a steady rise in adoption since its inception, banks still face challenges taking mobile mainstream and becoming adopted by a large majority of customers, according to a new report from Forrester Research.

The report, "The State of Mobile Banking 2014," covers various aspects of mobile banking, including the challenge banks face in developing mobile features to meet customers' rapidly evolving expectations.

"The longer customers spend using mobile apps like Angry Birds, Dropbox, Flipboard, Instagram, or WhatsApp, the higher their expectations become of what mobile devices can deliver," the report reads in part. "They wonder why banking can't be as simple and stimulating as reading an Instagram feed or Facebook timeline."

Forrester further says that a lack of obvious value and security concerns are two major factors that still hamper mobile banking adoption. The firm recommends banks take a proactive approach in reassuring customers who have security concerns around mobile, such as by showing detailed security policies within the app.

Additionally, Forrester states that some mobile banking holdouts say they still don't see the value of mobile banking or are content with existing channels like ATMs and the telephone. "Digital teams also need to educate customers and market more effectively around what they already offer to convey what mobile banking can deliver," the report states.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle for digital banking teams is the daunting prospect of supporting multiple platforms, says Forrester. The huge diversity in mobile handsets and operating systems makes it impossible for digital banking teams to serve more than a fraction of their customers with a single mobile banking application, and executives are forced to choose between platforms or to spread money and other resources across multiple platforms, according to the report.

Ultimately, Forrester says, mobile banking is not "a race between banks," and digital banking teams should stop worrying about competitors and instead become obsessed about what their own customers need and value, and how to profit from meeting those needs.

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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Becca L
Becca L,
User Rank: Author
11/29/2014 | 2:32:33 PM
Re: Mobile Diversity
Great point. I wonder, do banks have a choice? At this point the internet of things is only getting a bigger, banks need to leverage the data for all sorts of offerings. We hear all the time that building out apps, platforms and creating systems that can take in these structured and usntructured data sets is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must have to stay competitive. 
Becca L
Becca L,
User Rank: Author
11/29/2014 | 2:27:35 PM
Education is certainly an important component to adoption, when i talk about mobile payments with people out of the industry often the first thing they ask is if it's secure. If banks can be proactive, as Forrester suggests, and demonstrate how it works in a secure manner customers may be more open to the idea.

If mobile banking is take take off, I imagine it will be a viral adoption - as people see others using it easily, they will want to follow suit. Younger adopters will teach parents, etc. And when that happens banks that haven't worked towards development of a mobile payment option may loose out.

Becca L
Becca L,
User Rank: Author
11/29/2014 | 2:23:23 PM
"Not a race" - really?
Interesting findings. I was interested to read that is the conclusion of the report, that "mobile banking is not "a race between banks," " - it's often talked about how it IS a race for banks to develop the next best thing for their customers, preventing them from switching to a more tech savvy competitor. IMO larger and global banks certainly need to keep this on the mind. Perhaps it's the smaller regional banks with a less diverse customer base that can relax on this front?
User Rank: Author
11/26/2014 | 12:04:29 PM
Mobile Diversity
If wearables take off, then mobile teams are really going to have a lot of devices and operating systems to account for. That will eb a headache. And probably will require changes to how banks are developing their mobile apps to be more responsive to all the changes going on with so many devices and operating systems.
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