The spike in mobile app usage during the pandemic isn’t news. But the degree to which customers consider mobile banking essential has intensified.
“The share of people in the U.S. and in all markets who won’t tolerate having to go online is growing,” said Peter Wannemacher, principal analyst at Forrester. In other words, many customers are frustrated when they are forced to log onto the bank’s website to complete a task because the option is not there on the app.
Bank customers are increasingly performing transactions on their institutions’ apps, rather than passively checking them for information. Fifty-four percent of U.S. adults with bank accounts feel they should be able to accomplish any financial task through a mobile device, according to Forrester’s 2022 Mobile Banking Survey — an opinion that reached a majority during Forrester’s surveys for the first time in 2020. As mobile becomes the hub of people’s relationship with their financial institutions, it is more incumbent upon banks to embellish their apps with tools consumers want, beyond the basics of reviewing transactions and depositing checks.
Mike Welsh, chief creative officer at Mobiquity, a consulting firm that focuses on digital products, has also seen consumers increase their focus on apps.
“You’re seeing a much richer expectation that consumers have of mobile banking,” he said. “They are looking for an instant ‘get in and start banking’ whether it’s taking out loans, getting paid if they are an Uber driver or using alternate forms of currency such as crypto.”
In a recent report, Forrester identified seven features that are in light use now among U.S. mobile banking apps, but the authors, including Wannemacher, expect to be “indispensable” by 2025. Having such features that go beyond traditional standard functionality such as remote check deposit and the ability to transfer money is important because they will further engage customers, rather than simply retain them.
“Deepening relationships and being seen as [a bank] that someone wants to work with, rather than just continuing to work with — that difference is important,” said Wannemacher. More than half of respondents to Forrester’s Mobile Banking Survey 2022 believe their primary bank’s mobile app is about the same as others, rather than superior. Another 10% think it’s worse.