Money on the move? There’s an app for that
From retailers to telecoms providers to big name banks, mobile money is a topic at the forefront of everyone's minds. In 2012 we saw the arrival of the O2 Wallet and Barclays Pingit, two high profile products that will undoubtedly be followed by many more as 2013 rolls on. As the market continues to evolve and becomes more crowded and competitive, providers of mobile financial solutions must push at the boundaries of innovation in customer experience in order to stand out from the crowd, writes Clayton Locke
Clayton joined Intelligent Environments in 2012, taking charge of the company’s technology team. He brings over 30 years’ experience in the software development and consulting industry. He has delivered innovative products and solutions to clients in the financial services and telecommunications sectors, including online banking, FX trading, enterprise architecture and mobile application development.
Clayton is responsible for product strategy, development and delivery of the Intelligent Environments product suite. He does this passionately, leveraging a lean software development approach to build high quality software products for the company’s solid base of blue chip clients. Prior to joining Intelligent Environments, Clayton was the European Managing Director of Virtusa, a $40 million offshore software development business.
From retailers to telecoms providers to big name banks, mobile money is a topic at the forefront of everyone’s minds. In 2012 we saw the arrival of the O2 Wallet and Barclays Pingit, two high profile products that will undoubtedly be followed by many more as 2013 rolls on.
As the market continues to evolve and becomes more crowded and competitive, providers of mobile financial solutions must push at the boundaries of innovation in customer experience in order to stand out from the crowd. To do this, they must ask the key question: What does the customer want? The answer is almost always grounded in the most practical and useful features of a software application.
In terms of mobile banking, it is essential that certain key capabilities (checking an account balance, looking at recent transactions, and interacting with the bank) are easily available and a pleasure to use. Of course, the most important thing when it comes to uptake and usage of mobile solutions is that the customer is able to complete their transaction simply, easily, and above all as quickly as possible.
The average online banking customer accesses their account once a week, whereas the average mobile banking customer will access their account once a day. These mobile customers, generally on the go at all times, are not happy to wait for the information they need and expect instant access to their accounts on demand. This expectation puts immense pressure on mobile money solutions to process higher transaction volumes with faster responses, and all this over the air while the customer is on the move.
Mobile security is also of the utmost importance; the losses due to December’s Eurograbber malware attack highlight just how much consumer trust depends upon appropriate security protocols, and new technology enables banks to take these to the next level. Biometric technology, for example, is being pioneered through mobile devices: voiceprint uses the audio and computing features built into a smartphone to authenticate users more accurately and easily than relying on the use to remember and type in a password.
Incorporating these protocols into an app provides consumers with an increased sense of security – an extremely important factor, the lack of which regularly ranks highly as a barrier to the widespread adoption of mobile financial services among consumers.
Thinking outside the box in terms of functionality and user experience is also vital to standing out from the crowd. Take transaction geotagging for example: rather than simply seeing a list of transactions, the user is presented with a map of where they occurred. This gives the user a richer experience in understanding their spending patterns, and could also be useful in helping to identify fraudulent transactions. For banks and other mobile money providers, these and many other innovations are now opportunities for competitive differentiation.
New entrants looking to make a splash in the mobile financial services arena will seek to deliver features that customers did not even realise were possible. Future innovations will put improvements to the customer experience at the centre of any successful mobile financial services application, and it is vital that companies seeking to make a name in this increasingly crowded market make the most of technology in order to provide a truly innovative customer focused product, integrated across all of the multiple channels (not just mobile) that are used by today’s typical banking customer.