Mobile's Future Is Here — Too Bad So Many Banks Are Stuck in the Past

by Edward O'Brien 0

Some Citigroup customers in New York can open ATM vestibules with their phones. Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase customers can retrieve cash more quickly from ATMs using codes generated on their phones. Apple users will soon be able to use their Apple Pay on their iPhones to complete purchases made on their computers.

Welcome to the future of mobile banking, where smartphones begin to make the transition from being a way for people to bank on the go to being the nucleus of banking.

“Mobile is not just a channel anymore — it is becoming the heart of the relationship,” Steve Ellis, head of the innovation group at Wells Fargo, said in an interview this week. Similarly, Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America, said last month that “mobile is the branch.”

For much of the industry, this type of development is likely a far-off future. After all, many banks are still trying to master basic mobile banking. And for some, it is perhaps too much of a theoretical play right now given the still relatively low adoption rate of mobile banking.

Even though many banks and credit unions have been offering online banking for years, not all are offering full-featured mobile banking options for their customers or members. This slow implementation path can create frustration with the many banking customers embracing mobile banking, particularly Millennials and other tech-savvy users who embrace their smartphones and downloadable apps. Fortunately, there are options for the many smaller financial institutions with limited product development budgets. Many such institutions are reporting success working with their core systems and channel providers to offer proven mobile banking solutions that are cost-efficient can be deployed quickly.

Overview by Ed O’Brien, Director, Banking Channels Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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