Banks and Financial Services Firms Must Prioritize UX for Their Mobile Apps

by Ed Kennedy 0

Mobile banking is on the rise. According to a recent study conducted by Ipsos for the American Banking Association, 58 percent of adults in the United States use mobile banking apps at least once a month. And a recent survey from Bank of America reported 62 percent of respondents prefer mobile and online banking to other banking methods – a 22 percent jump from 2015.

Consumers are spoiled by the convenience of Amazon and speed of Google, and these expectations are spilling over into financial services as well. Firms may not see the impact of this until retention or loan origination drops. We’ve found consumer engagement in digital touchpoints is a bellwether for retention rates. Financial institutions that start seeing withdrawals and drops in loan originations may be able to track this back to poor digital engagement.

One of the major challenges is that marketing has typically been riding shotgun to technology departments at financial institutions which can lead to clunky and choppy user experiences. The best firms in this space rally marketing and IT stakeholders around customer needs and tailor experiences and technology solutions that meet these growing customer expectations.

This year, Episerver conducted the 2016 Future of Finance Report: The Mobile Money Report and found that financial services apps leave a lot to be desired for consumers. The report found one in five consumers are overwhelmed by the amount of information in these apps, and 39 percent were not satisfied with the level of security they offer.

Unfortunately, it appears many financial decision-makers are unaware of this discrepancy, as PointSource’s The State of the Mobile Experience Report, found that 85 percent of financial decision-makers rank their existing mobile presence at a seven or above on a 10-point scale. There is a mismatch between financial decision makers’ perception of their mobile experiences versus how customers actually feel about using mobile.

Given the complex nature of financial services and decision-making with personal finances, the move toward mobile has presented its share of challenges to the risk-averse financial services industry. In an industry with a lot of regulations and a lack of innovation, user experience design is not always the top priority even when developing mobile apps.

The quality of a financial services provider’s mobile app is a huge asset for its value proposition. Financial services companies should provide a digital experience that enhances consumers’ banking experience, helping them access and manage their money easily and keeping their privacy, and their funds, airtight.

With all banks and financial services firms offering a relatively similar scope of mobile capabilities, the user experience — ease of use, responsiveness and speed — has become one of the most distinguishing factors for consumers deciding where and how to bank. In fact, 44 percent of consumers consider ease of use a significant factor in their choice to download financial apps, 63 percent of consumers would abandon a site that’s too difficult to access, and 34 percent are frustrated with limited functionality. But when it comes to user experience design (UX) and security, financial services firms must also be careful to toe the line. The 2016 Future of Finance Report found that a quarter of consumers become frustrated with complex security logins.

In order to succeed in creating a winning mobile app that satisfies consumers and makes them feel confident in their choice, banks should consider app developers and designers as an integral part of their workforce. Designing a mobile app shouldn’t be an afterthought, and it should be updated regularly as technology advances and consumer needs evolve. This means that developers and designers will continue to optimize the experience for all devices, using data and analytics to tweak and improve pain points. Overall, the brands that prioritize an intuitive and user-friendly mobile experience will come out on top.

At the end of the day, the bank that can provide a user-friendly, intuitive and secure mobile banking experience will always outpace the bank with an outdated, convoluted, or nonexistent mobile app.