Revolutionising the Banking Industry through Mobility

Niamh Madigan

The digital revolution has made a massive dent in many industries, none more so than the banking sector, where technology has rapidly evolved over the last number of years. Mobile devices have already displaced desktop-based internet access and are becoming the preferred vehicle for carrying out banking activities.

Today, branch-based employees move around with their tablets and smartphones to assist customers, while financial advisors and corporate bankers increasingly conduct most of their work with clients outside branches. Citi in Asia recently noted that around 95% of all of its transactions now occur outside of its branches. The bank has also signed up 1.1 million active mobile banking users and continues to add between 60,000 and 70,000 per month. (1)

Bank of America is developing applications which will allow commercial customers to manage global transactions, such as payments and internal funds transfers, irrespective of country or time-zone.
As customers we can log on to check our account activity from any mobile device when we are on the go. Small businesses can now process payments through devices like Square, without having to outlay huge costs on chip-and-pin devices, and other traditional retail technology.

"According to PNC Financial Services Group, the average cost of a transaction using an online or mobile device is 56 cents, and 59 cents at an ATM, compared with $3.97 when a customer transacts with a bank teller," explains Michael Hickins, Editor, CIO Journal.

While Gartner projects that by 2015, 35% of tablets will be used for business purposes, they also suggest hat banks have been cautious about tablet devices, with only 9% claiming to have an established tablet-based service. (2)

The banking industry has primarily used the tablet to provide simple customer self-service functions. However, as leaders in financial services and other industries demonstrate, there is value in developing apps that address more complex, advisory-based interactions.


However, with a growth in mobile banking also comes increased risk. "Security issues such as fraud, device theft or shoulder surfing, it's no different to any other new technology. In the case of mobile payments, the interesting aspect is that these risks converge with those of the financial services and telecommunications industries," warns Tony Virdi, VP Head of Banking and Financial Services in the UK & Ireland.

In terms of risk, banks can continue to be innovative. In an interview with Jeff Elgin, VP of Digital and Mobile IT at Capital One Bank, he cited that the customer's security is sacred, but they do have the appropriate risk techniques in place to protect them, while still encouraging innovation and mobile strategies.

The Future of Mobility Solutions in Banking

Voice Technology: Rohit Sharma, Head of Mobility Practice, Virtusa Corporation predicts that voice recognition will be part of all enterprise-class mobile applications in the next three to five years, and will do more than just replace typing. Apple's personal voice assistant Siri is one such example, but we will see other new speech-enabled uses and applications for the banking industry emerge.

Growth of Mobile Apps: Mobile applications are receiving more investment than any other mobile solution, according to results of our recent study: The Global Enterprise Mobility: A Look to the Past, Present & Future. There are many banking mobile solutions available with newer models emerging all the time, which will take the pain away from application distribution hassles.

Contactless Payments: Already in existence, Barclays is a good example of a bank that has pioneered a third-party payment service. Through partnering with the London Oyster transport ticketing card, they have enabled their customers to charge payments made at Oyster terminals, using an NFC-enabled mobile phone, directly to their Barclays debit or credit card. This has prompted the U.K transport authority to think about how, in future, mobile contactless payments could be made the preferred mode of transaction authorization, replacing RFID technology. (3)

Using Data to Drive Competitive Advantage: Critical and accurate data gathered from testing
phases can drive an enterprise to make a decision based on measured risks. Big data analytics will help banks to determine and better understand their customers - this is useful in analysing a customer's transactional history - so that if they close their account, the bank can discover whether the customer is profitable and should be retained as a customer.

Categories: Banking industry, Square, NFC payments, Citi, Barclays, mCommerce Las Vegas

1: Ovum, Nov 26 2013
2: Accenture, "Banking Anytime, Anywhere Enabling Enterprise Mobility in Banking with Tablets and Apps
3: Evolution of Mobile Banking, Infosys