Allison Arthur Jun 24, 2014

Five Mobile Banking Apps for Customer Engagement

Once banks make account access on mobile devices a standard service for their banking customers, they often make the mistake of stopping there. However, banking customers today are looking for more than just account access on their devices; they’re looking for a full suite of financial services through apps and mobile websites. Supplying these services could provide a critical competitive differentiation.

Here are five mobile banking application types that can make a difference:

Personal Finance and Budget Apps. Due to heightened security concerns, many consumers are looking for a personal finance and budgeting solution directly from their personal bank. Instead of entering their financial information somewhere else on the Internet, they seek the functionality of budgeting tools directly integrated with their bank accounts.

Consider the importance of highly integrated functionality, including filtering options, dragging and dropping expenses into certain folders, powerful visual graphs and simple, intuitive user interfaces. Consumers expect these capabilities. Cut out the middleman and build a personal finance and budgeting tool specifically for them.

Mortgage and Loan Calculators. Imagine a young couple out perusing open houses on a Sunday, looking for their first home. They find one they’d like to make an offer on but don’t know where to start the mortgage loan process. It’s possible they don’t even know their bank offers mortgage services.

A strategic mobile app for this specific audience can provide information on daily changing rates, how it affects their home purchase budget and more. Put a face with a name and provide an easy way for consumers to apply for a home loan in your bank by including location information on the closest branch and contact information for the most accessible mortgage professional.

This functionality applies to other types of loans such as personal, vehicle and business. Consider functionality that would enable users to see the financial impact of paying an extra $20 on a loan each month. Consumers are seeking more control over their debt management. Don’t lose them to another service, or worse, another financial institution, by not providing the tools they need.

Credit Monitoring. Modern technology is making it easier for consumers to regularly check their credit records. Help your customers stay on top of their finances by building a mobile app that provides a quarterly credit score update, alerts based on potential red flags and tips to increase their score.

Identity theft is a continuing threat to consumers. Help your customers feel safer by developing a mobile app that helps them stay on top of these personal financial details from their favorite device. Make your bank your customers’ one-stop-shop for their every financial need.

Small Business Accounting. Financial institutions focus on helping small businesses with their accounting and financial needs through extensive online tools. Small business owners are constantly busy and on-the-go, so why not take these solutions mobile? Allow customers to connect with their business accounts to track and categorize expenses, record deposits and organize invoices. Functionality can even include a tax calculator to help small business owners determine how much to save for tax season.

Many small businesses aren’t tied to a desk; their account access shouldn’t be either. Provide your customers the same type of flexibility to market your products and services and increase brand engagement.

Business Traveling Expenses. Millions of Americans travel for their job, and many are your customers. Cater to their needs by providing a mobile app that delivers a snapshot of receipts and sorts them by trip, location and date. Functionality can also include per diem tracking, organization of lodging and travel arrangements and an overall running total of expenses for tax deduction purposes.

What’s the difference between your bank and the next one? It could be your willingness to build utility apps for your customers’ specific mobile needs.

Ms. Arthur is a marketing manager with St. Louis-based SteadyRain Inc., a mobile development and Internet strategy firm. She can be reached at allison.arthur@steadyrain.com.

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