Guest Opinion: As Mobile Matures, Time Is Now for Your CU
As mobile banking has matured over the last year or so, new features such as P2P and apps make this feature a must-have for credit unions looking to attract new members of any age.
Mobile banking has been a hot commodity for nearly two years now, increasing in fervor with each passing year – and, there’s no end in sight. New smart phones, loaded with the latest features and capabilities, seem to be released on a daily basis, which now makes managing your account from the palm of your hand virtually expected in today’s financial services world.
That said, the adoption of smart phone technology has obviously exploded and the concept of downloadable apps has also moved front and center. Earlier versions of mobile banking were focused around Web-based versions, whereas the new trend is to have downloadable apps available in the respective app store. Of course, the Web-based version will continue to be an important channel, but credit unions want to have a presence in the app stores. Many folks see the app stores as a who’s-who list of successful companies.
With the expansion of apps for both the internetworking operating platform and Android, however, the nature of device management is something of which to be aware. By device management, this means making sure the app works on all of the possible iterations of devices supporting the respective operating system. While the Apple side is isolated to just a few devices (iPhone, iPad, etc.) – and those are distinctly similar in function – the Android side has literally hundreds of potential configurations between the various device types and the individual carrier software.
Conversely, high-end smart phones are becoming more common amongst all age groups, even though the lion’s share of the market is still dominated by Gen Y. Of course, credit unions do see the mobile channel as a voice to attract the younger members, but they’re also getting some very positive reinforcement with older members who’ve adopted these features as well, making it an even more proven market. The iPhone has done especially well with older members because of its simplicity and its intuitive interface.
If you want to know what technologies to step away from these days, short message service or text banking seems to be losing a bit of steam. Historically, a data plan for phones was an expensive add-on enjoyed only by a select group, while texting had become an inexpensive commodity. Now, the data plan is a standard part of most phone packages with users running on 3G or even 4G networks for speedy data exchange. So with robust versions of mobile banking, either Web-based or within apps becoming more available to members, the nature of having to remember text codes to obtain data or initiate transactions is taking a backseat.