Karim Kanji

Karim Kanji

Digital Content Manager

Through The Looking Glass: The Future of Mobile Banking in Canada

We’ve been very excited at Catalyst over the past couple of weeks. Why? We recently published our latest report. This one was a look into how Canadians use their smartphones. The report helped to solidify some long held beliefs. We had a sense that Canadians have a lot of apps on their smartphones (25) but did you know that less than one of them (on average) was paid for? We also found out some interesting things about what Canadians use their mobile devices for.

For example, as popular as apps like Urbanspoon and Yelp are at helping consumers find new places to eat and discover, only 31% of people use their smartphone to find new restaurants. And of those that do, Foodies, at a rate of only 43%, prefer to use an app. Those looking for restaurants still prefer to use their PC or laptop at a rate of 43%.

However, it’s the data we found about how people use their devices when it comes to banking that caught my attention.

Recently, ING DIRECT Canada (soon to be rebranded Tangerine) and CIBC unveiled apps that enabled their users to deposit a paper cheque by simply taking a photo of it.

Since the growth in smartphones (made popular for consumers with Apple’s iPhone), banks have followed with their mobile apps. RBC and CIBC came out with some of the first functional apps in 2010.

According to recent research conducted by TD Bank and published by eMarketer, “88% of US internet users ages 18 to 34 used online banking to pay monthly bills, make deposits and withdraw money. Nearly half said they performed such activities on a mobile device.”

When we asked Canadian smartphone users about their banking habits here is what they told us:

When it comes to checking their bank account

– 21% use their smartphone

– 7% use their tablet

– 65% still use their laptop/PC

– 6% choose not to go online

When it came down to doing transactions (such as paying a bill) here is what Canadians told us:

– 9% use their smartphone

– 6% use their tablet

– 74% use their laptop/PC

– 10% still go to the bank (or do telephone banking)

From this data we found that Canadians want to participate in mobile banking (28% check their bank balance). However, when it comes to conducting transactions, only 15% actually do so. A closer look tells us that when it comes to doing more than just checking their bank balance, the smartphone loses users while the laptop/PC gains users.

Why does the laptop/PC gain banking transactions to the detriment of mobile? According to our research, we found a number of interesting data points:

– Canadians conduct mobile banking because of two main reasons: security (31%) and ease of navigation (37%)

– However, when it comes why they don’t use mobile banking, Canadians said security (53%) and ease of navigation 23%) were their reasons.

So while companies continue to invest in mobile banking, their clients are not all migrating. Except millennials. Third-party research continues to show that millennials’ use of smartphones and tablets is growing. They use it to communicate, consume entertainment and news and even transact (including purchasing products and conducting online banking).

We also believe that these savvy technology users also have the same concerns and desires as the rest of the population: They will want a secure platform and a great user experience online. And mobile banking is part of that.

Here are a few things that banks need to do to encourage the continued use of their mobile platforms:

  1. Conduct ongoing research to determine which browsers, OS, and devices people use to get to their online/mobile properties. And with this research they need to ensure that they are providing the best experience for their online visitors and clients.
  2. Client’s sense of security does not only come from security POV’s that populate a bank’s website. They also come from the language a bank uses. A brand that is seen as not serious may not portray the same sense of security as a bank that is known as conservative and takes pride in not only securing your finances but also providing a secure platform to conduct business.
  3. Create a seamless experience among all touch points. Whether an individual visits your branch or your mobile app on their smartphone, your brand should convey the same message to them.
  4. Ensure that your mobile properties are properly optimized. Mobile apps or mobile sites should be easy to use and offer a world class experience. For example, one of the worst things a bank can do is offer banking solutions to iOS users that are not available to Android users.



Karim Kanji
Karim Kanji

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