Consumers call for convenience; banks answer with more sophisticated mobile technology
In the U.S., 87 percent of the population owns a mobile phone and as of March 2012, 106 million of those are smart phone users. Currently, 29 percent of mobile phone owners utilize mobile banking, but according to Javelin Strategy & Research, over the next five years more than half of mobile phone owners will use the technology.
As more and more consumers adopt this technology, it’s less of an added-benefit and more of a requirement for banks. In a recent study, AlixPartners found that 39% of consumers say mobile capabilities are a decisive factor in their decision to switch banks.
Mobile banking comes in many forms including text messages and alerts, mobile applications and mobile-enabled websites. The various options allow customers to access account information from smart phones as well as conventional mobile phones. Mobile banking smart phone applications often let consumers manage their accounts with the same – if not more – features as online banking.
For example, mobile deposit allows consumers to photograph checks with their smart phone cameras and add the funds directly into their bank accounts.
“Consumers constantly turn to their mobile phones for email, games and now banking,” said Kristen Rankin, mobile channel manager of SunTrust Bank. “Understanding that mobile banking is radically changing the way consumers can bank, led us to create a feature-rich application. For example, depositing checks remotely using your smart phone easily adds funds to accounts, saves time and allows consumers to bank where they want, when they want.
To provide added safeguards, SunTrust’s mobile banking applications use state-of-the-art technology that does not allow personal information to be stored on the user’s mobile device. The bank will also replace 100 percent of funds removed if someone gains unauthorized access to an account, though Rankin said there have been no incidents to date.
How can smart phone users get the most out of mobile banking?
- Know what features your bank offers. Most banks offer apps that allow customers to check balances but not all banks offer mobile deposit.
- Use a strong password. This is a good security measure for any online financial transaction - including mobile banking.
Be sure your bank has a mobile banking guarantee in the unlikely event that your account experiences unauthorized access.