Sizing up the tablet opportunity in digital banking

Despite forecasts that two-thirds of UK internet users would be tablet users, tablet banking ranks significantly lower than other channels.

Sizing up the tablet opportunity in digital banking

Back in 2014, research institute Forrester had tablet banking pegged to overtake mobile banking, rising from 19 million users in 2013 to 115 million in 2018. The expectation was that just as tablets would overtake smartphones and PCs for everyday activities (such as browsing the web and shopping), consumers would slowly but surely switch to the devices for other tasks such as banking, as they became more accustomed to them. 

Unfortunately, the prediction was not to be. We recently conducted some research into UK consumer perceptions of, and preferences for, various banking channels. The findings revealed that of all digital tools, computer or PC banking is still the most popular method with customers for checking their balance, while tablet banking is failing to take off. 

86 per cent of respondents said that digital banking is the method they use most to check their bank balance, with over half (53 per cent) of these preferring to use a computer or PC, while a quarter (25 per cent) said smartphone banking is the method they use the most.

Despite eMarketer forecasting that two-thirds of UK internet users—35.2 million people—will be tablet users in 2016, Tablet banking ranks significantly lower in comparison with only 9 per cent saying apps or online banking via a web browser on a tablet is the method they use the most.

These low adoption figures suggest that banks have yet to optimise tablet platforms to align with customer experience and expectation. However, they also highlight a huge opportunity for the financial services (FS) sector to invest in tablet banking, increasing adoption and ultimately improving customer engagement and loyalty.

However, providers should avoid the mistake of making their tablet banking services a carbon copy of smartphone banking. For example, the tablet functionality should be expanded in a way that plays to the device’s advantages, making use of the larger screen for easier reading and navigation. They also need to account for the fact that, in many households, the tablet is shared device so support for multiple accounts on the same tablet should also be available.

Consumers expect a great experience, regardless of which device they are banking on – and right now, it would appear PC and computer interfaces remain dominant perhaps as they are the primary design platform for banks to design digital channels. The disconnect between the popularity of the tablet and adoption of banking on it shows financial institutions need to invest more in this channel if they are to keep up with customer preferences.