Customers are ready for more targeted mobile banking services

Customers are ready for more targeted mobile banking services

The likes and dislikes of mobile banking customers around the world suggest that there is an opportunity to expand mobile services globally – but providers need to be careful they are targeting the right information to the right people, according to a new survey by analytics firm FICO.

Based on a study of 2,239 adult smartphone users in the UK, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Turkey and the USA, the survey found that the most popularly requested ability is account balance checking (75%), a service already offered by virtually all large banks. However, 59% of respondents also wanted to be notified about potential fraud via mobile and 53% wanted their bank to allow them to make payments using their mobile – neither of which are yet widely available. In addition, 50% wanted to transfer money between their accounts using a mobile.

Younger customers were more interested in these new services, with the age range 25 to 39 years the most interested in products such as receiving credit card bill payment reminders and credit card limit warnings by mobile phone. Men were more interested in mobile banking than women, by an average of four percentage points across all age groups. The least popular service was to receive information about new products and services (39%). Interest reduced with age, so that only 6.5% of over 55s were interested in the idea.

Unsurprisingly, tailored services were more popular than generic ones – in the UK, 81% of respondents disliked irrelevant information, but 41% liked provider-initiated communications that were relevant to them. In addition, 20% of consumers wanted their banks to communicate with them via text for account balance updates, 69% of respondents wanted to check account balances via mobile and 62% wanted to receive security checks and fraud notifications this way.

“Over one billion consumers worldwide have smartphones in their pockets, so it stands to reason that many of them would want to conduct their banking using those devices,” said Stuart Wells, chief product and technology officer at FICO. “For forward-thinking banks, this presents an unprecedented opportunity to differentiate themselves and strengthen their relationships with their customers. The unique ability to combine voice, applications, text, and location information with powerful analytics, personalisation and automated communications make mobile banking much more significant than previous channel expansions, including the advent of ATMs or even online banking.”

In the UK, Barclays already offers peer to peer and corporate payments through its Pingit mobile app. It is the only UK bank to do so thus far, although alternative offering Zapp, a subsidiary of payments processor VocaLink, is looking to launch imminently. VocaLink is owned by the rest of the UK’s major banks. However, Zapp will focus more on corporate payments and will not cover the kind of peer to peer payments available on Pingit.

Consumer trust was highlighted in the FICO study, which reported that banks were among the most trusted institutions, rating second only to hospitals with 48% of customers giving the bank high trust, 20% neutral and 32% low trust. By comparison, social networks scored just 12% high trust, 16% neutral and 72% low trust when it comes to managing personal customer data.

However, previous research has indicated that mobile payments may face an uphill struggle in the UK, where consumers don’t trust the technology. Fears that personal bank details will not be secure are the reason given by 80% of respondents for their decision not to use mobile payments, according to a study carried out by YouGov on behalf of outsourcing firm Firstsource Solutions in October.