How Mobile Technology is Changing the Way Consumers Bank

By Joe Marcallini
Originally published on Mobile Marketer, June 7, 2011

In the fourth quarter of last year, 30 million U.S. consumers accessed their financial services accounts via mobile devices. Mobile banking lends itself to personal scheduling, providing users the added convenience of accessing banking information while on the go.

As mobile technology continues to attract new, savvy and informed users, the banking industry must use innovative mobile techniques to connect with existing customers as well as attract prospects.

Here are just a few of the new mobile concepts banks are using to stay ahead of the technology curve.

Mobile Web site and mobile apps

Mobile Web sites and mobile apps are generally the first thing that comes to mind when people think of mobile marketing – and rightly so.

A mobile site is your front door to the Web for people on the go. Where is your bank? What are the hours of operation? What is your phone number? What are other people saying about your bank on local search reviews?

The first step is to create, design and develop a mobile Web site. Today, it is a necessity. The second step is to begin thinking how you can add value for your customers with a mobile app.

Perform a competitive analysis on the mobile apps that other banks have deployed and make your mobile app better. Target your audience of mobile device users and create value for the customer who is on the go.

Remote deposit capture

Remote deposit capture (RDC) is gaining momentum in the mobile arena.

US Bank released a mobile app earlier this year that allows customers to snap a picture of a check, process the picture using the app and then send the image to the bank for remote deposit.

This means that your bank customer no longer needs to go to the bank to make check deposits. JP Morgan Chase also has a similar feature.

These customers can be at work, at the park, in the living room, and make a deposit to their account. This may result in less physical visitors to the bank. However, RDC lends itself to reduced processing costs for the bank, a value of convenience for the customer and improved availability of banking services.

Text alerts

Text or SMS alerts provide account information access to a wider variety of mobile devices, not just smartphones with apps.

With text alerts, banks can provide push and pull services that perform a number of transaction functionalities.

For example, a typical push service would generate a text to a customer telling her that she has low funds in her account, which would be based on a user-generated specification, such as $50 or less. Another push example would be periodic account balance reporting at the end of the month.

Pull services are requested by the end user. For example, a customer may type in a short code of “BAL” to her bank. The bank receives the text, verifies the sender and replies with an account balance.

Another example would be to send a short code to stop payment on a specific check number.

Mobile technology is changing the way people manage their money. Banks must engage in well-managed, well-strategized and well-executed mobile marketing campaigns to retain and gain a solid customer base.

One of the most important steps that a bank can take in mobile marketing is to properly convey their efforts to existing and potential customers. Alert the public to your organization’s expansion in the mobile world. Add notifications and call outs on your Web site. Post flyers in your bricks-and-mortar locations. Push online marketing, search engine optimization and paid advertising campaigns. Focus your social media efforts so that customers are in the know.

Now is the time to capitalize on the mobile revolution.

Joe Marcallini is vice president of Internet strategy at SteadyRain, St. Louis, MO. Reach him at joem@steadyrain.com.