The balance between what the technology can do and what the customer wants from mobile banking has been highlighted by two pieces recently. In Zap, tap and go the Financial Times looks at the rise of digital wallets and the “radical simplicity” of mobile payments systems like Square. Banks and tech companies clearly have a need to offer this kind of technology, but do consumers want it badly enough?
On the Finextra site, GFT’s Karl Rieder explained, in Mobility – A New Way for Banking, how it is not enough for banks to just to develop a form of digital wallet, rather they must concentrate on the consumer experience and how mobile technology and the innovative use of social networks can benefit the banks’ customers. He outlines how mobile should simplify banking in order to “encourage an easier and more direct interaction” between the bank and its customers.
So mobile banking is about more than technical capability? Karl suggest that to be successful, banks need “to implement new processes and services and put customer service first, taking into consideration what bank customers need throughout the course of their everyday life”. Over at the Financial Times, the writers suggest that this is still a stumbling block, as companies have not yet worked out “how to give as much weight to customers’ interests as their own”.
So how might a new service to benefit the customer work in practice? It could work in terms of instant funding. When a customer makes a large credit card purchase, the bank can immediately offer payment schemes – an interesting service for the consumer and a new revenue stream for the bank.
Some banks are moving towards this vision of banking as customer-centric and thoughtful. Most, it seems, are still thinking about what mobile technology can do for them, rather than what it can do for their customers.