The CEO of ForeSee highlights online banking customer satisfaction as a critical touch point for users. The report summarises that highly satisfied online banking customers report by a wide margin that they are likely to:
- Purchase more services
- Have more accounts
- Use the website as a primary channel (with a cost saving to the bank)
- Continue their banking relationship and
- Recommend the bank to others’
ForSee’s research goes on to recommend that in order to improve their online offering further, banks should concentrate on navigation, ease of online transactions and site performance. This is something we see reflected in the types of projects banking and financial services organisations have been getting us on board with in recent years.
Whilst in summary, this research gives a pat on the back to the major UK banks with 70% preferring online banking to E-Retail (see above), ATMs or in branch, it highlights the need for further development and improvements in this area – especially as audiences get more and more technologically savvy.
What I found most interesting however, was that of the 1000 respondents, only 1% chose mobile banking as their preferred channel. Mobile app development is still in its infancy in relation to online banking, with many apps having clunky interfaces and limited functionality. Mobile is a massive potential growth area for banks, with adoption rates set to be as high as 50% by 2014 according to research undertaken by Monitise/the Future Foundation.
With this in mind, I pulled together a short online survey to get a picture of common opinions regarding online and mobile banking. Whilst my research lacked the scope and research methodology that ForSee’s had, it had interesting results nevertheless.
I found that 57% of respondents used online banking regularly, 26% went in branch, 9% used telephone banking and 7% have used mobile devices. However, of these respondents, a massive 90% chose online banking as their preferred method. 6% percent chose online and 4% chose branch. No-one chose mobile banking.
The data from my survey shows that although 23% of respondents had concerns over security, almost double (40%) didn’t know that an app existed in the first place. This is significantly higher than the 15% in ForSee’s results, and suggests that the biggest hurdle to the adoption of mobile banking is awareness, rather than the UK market not being ready to adopt such technology, as some articles claim. However, almost a quarter (23%) of respondents said that they were not interested in mobile banking or didn’t have a smartphone presently. This is still a much higher proportion than I would have expected; it would be interesting to see how this figure changes over the next couple of years.
Although ForSee’s survey didn’t cover this, from my survey, I expected to see a large number of respondents frustrated with the limited functionality of the existing mobile apps, which reflects my own personal experiences with mobile banking. I was surprised to see that a relatively small figure, only 6.5% of respondents shared my concerns. I expect that with the development of more and more functional apps, users will begin to expect more from their mobile banking app.
The Future of Online & Mobile Banking
Clearly the first mobile hurdle for the high street banks to overcome is the issue of awareness and adoption. Users need to understand what their banks are offering and on what platforms. Banks also need to be acutely aware of security issues in order to make their apps as locked down as possible. They also need to be mindful of changing trends in handsets. Whilst Apple and Android are the big players at the minute, new platforms may come to market over the next few years which may be adopted by the marketplace. As users become more and more savvy with mobile functionality, and expect to be able to do more whilst on the move, the gap between online and mobile abilities needs to get smaller and smaller. Where this doesn’t happen, I suspect we’ll see people voting with their feet to move to banks with better mobile functionality.