Till a few years ago, nobody imagined that mobile phones would be used to transfer money and complete shopping transactions. But now, one doesn’t really have to visit a bank, stop by at an ATM, or carry a plastic credit or debit card to make purchases.
A new wave of mobile technology solutions, including mobile banking apps that turn any smartphone into a fully operational personal bank, is sweeping through the banking industry. With cash transfers between mobile phones increasingly becoming a reality, mobile banking could soon become as commonplace as Internet banking.
Banks are now increasingly choosing mobile platforms for innovative payment models and commerce capabilities. For instance, the Australian multinational CommBank recently launched a new mobile app that lets customers view their current balance and spot the location of the nearest ATM with mere swipes on their screen. Using the app’s dial feature, account holders could also transfer money to other accounts. It also enabled contactless payments using iOS, Android, and Windows 8 phones, besides letting customers activate cards and update PINs. They could also shop through their mobile phones by tapping them at counters —a smart pay tag on the phone allowed it to be used for NFC tap-and-go payments, in which the device communicated with a reader directly.
The success of these measures is apparent when we consider that about three years ago, 88 percent of CommBank customers’ online banking logons were through desktops, but now, more than half their logons (56 percent) happen via mobiles.
In the United Kingdom, reputed banks, such as Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, and Santander, have developed their own mobile apps for their customers’ convenience. UK’s Office for National Statistics estimates that 20 percent of adult customers have made at least one mobile payment and 25 percent of bank customers use phones to check their balances. With the Payments Council forecasting that mobile phones would be used for 1.5 billion transactions a year by 2022, the role of mobile technology in the banking industry is on an upward swing.
Consequently, banks equipped with the latest technological advancements are looking at building on this further. The U.S. Bank is working on an advanced mobile shopping experience, including product selection and instant checkout payment capabilities, aimed at major retail outlets. The application will combine mobile action codes—with shopping and payment modules to create a quick and easy transaction process for consumers.
As bank-provided apps enable customers to view payments requested by retailers and instruct banks to make the related payments, it creates a secure channel that doesn't necessitate third party validation or authentication. Using these apps, customers can also make informed choices about their payments and the accounts that they will operate, thereby enabling them to manage their finances more efficiently.
Do you think mobile apps in the banking sector are here to say? Give us your opinion in the comments box below.