Importance of online banking in the age of mobile

Estonia got its own currency (now replaced by Euro) in 1992 and all of our banking systems were built from scratch in the few following years. Luckily for us this was already the age of Internet. This means that same day online transfers to anyone without any initiation in human channels have been around for about 20 years. 2/3 of Swedbank customers go to internet bank 8 times each month and manage most of their economy there, writes Arno Pae

Estonia got its own currency (now replaced by Euro) in 1992 and all of our banking systems were built from scratch in the few following years. Luckily for us this was already the age of Internet. This means that same day online transfers to anyone without any initiation in human channels have been around for about 20 years. 2/3 of Swedbank customers go to internet bank 8 times each month and manage most of their economy there, writes Arno Pae

A head start into online banking has made us move all services to where customers are: online bank. We integrated online bank and bank website into one single interface early on. Today customers are able to sign up for pre-calculated loan limits and receive cash in minutes while they check their transactions. Or conclude and instantly activate life insurance online. Since online is where the bank is, they find it only natural to do so. Of course they pop to branch as well to get an additional human touch – often because we invite them.

These days everyone is talking about a giant shift to mobile. At Swedbank we have not been dragging our feet, our mobile apps are about 3 years old and our P2P mobile payments turn 10 this year. Yet we do not see number of mobile interactions passing online in close future in Estonia. We are at 20% and this is mainly due to hugely popular shake-your-balance feature which allows checking your account balance on mobile without any login. Instead you shake or swipe your phone. Heavy duty banking like managing bills, payments, pensions, credit cards is stuck in PC’s. Our customers wonder what they should use the mobile bank for as they are anyhow online with a computer for long swathes of time each day. I don’t predict I will personally escape such a pattern any time soon – who of us does?

Our successfull experience of allowing customers get both transactions and additional services from one strong online interface combined with the rush of competitors to mobile shows there is an untapped opportunity in online banking these days. We need to deliver superior daily banking experience, supplement this with personalised advice on what customers could to more to improve their finances and allow for branch and mobile to take their meaningful roles in the channel mix. Delivering a poor online banking experience will not be fixed by being great in mobile.