Mobile Banking & Commerce Summit

July 2, 2013 Arunan Sridharan

Having just returned from the 7th annual Mobile Banking and Commerce Summit in Miami, I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences about this leading industry event. Mobile is quickly changing the ways customers are performing transactions and the ways they work with banks. Here are some highlights from the conference:

Consumerization: Putting Customers First

Charaka Kithulegoda, the CIO at ING Direct, spoke in his keynote about the online, mobile, and social banking experience. 18% of all transactions in the bank happen over mobile devices, he informed us.

Consumers are now driving many of the technological changes that companies are adopting. This includes trends such as the consumerization of IT, as well as the consumerization of eHealth. Kithulegoda believes that financial services is no exception; rather, putting the customer first is core to banks’ success. Moreover, consumers actually tell financial service companies when and how they want to interact with them; it’s simply a matter of listening and acting.

Bank Technology News later named Kithulegoda Mobile Banker of the Year. Here’s a much more detailed profile on his work and thoughts.

The Value Exchange Between Merchants, Banks, and Consumers

49% of 26-34 year-olds will switch banks simply for a better mobile experience. That’s how important mobile payment is to this group of purchasers. For the uninitiated, MCX is a consortium of retailers that is looking to make mobile payments friendlier for their customers; it’s not aiming to become a bank – rather, it understands how mobile is growing more important to customers.

To this end, it is looking to build a mobile wallet solution that leverages the power of QR codes. This would be similar to the type of transactions that are happening at Starbucks, which is one of the few companies that have managed to make mPayments add to their customer experience.

Right Channeling: Zions Bank

Mobile is the fastest growing channel in bank history and also the lowest cost channel; in fact, it’s close to 98% cheaper than branches. As Matt Wilcox, an SVP at Zions Bank, explained, there is a trend in the banking industry to make the movement through channels (branch, telephone, mobile) a lot easier for customers. At this extent of cost savings, profit per customer is higher for mobile users by 29% when compared to banking customers who are not using mobile.

Wilcox recommends profile tracking of what and where in an app, website, or other service a customer has been to in order to gain more context. Self-service via mobile is still a major point, but few banks are doing it well. This needs to change; Wilcox highlights how customer attrition rates are 65% lower for mobile banking users versus banking customers not using mobile.

Our Director of Financial Services, Mike Stern, noticed something interesting: during the discussion, New Implications from Next Generation, the panelists were asked whether they would rather choose great UX or a broad feature set if they had to; it was unanimous across the board that they would choose great UX. This reflects the priority on consumerization and understanding what it is the user truly wants in order to maximize retention and revenue.

The financial services sector is quickly adopting mobile standards and discovering the benefits of engaging users further and in the right channels. The Mobile Banking and Commerce Summit highlighted how companies are starting to use these changes both today and in the near future. We left the conference extremely excited about the future of financial services, and how mobile will play its part.


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