In the US, 40% of time spent online banking takes place via a mobile device and 50% of survey respondents bank exclusively via mobile, according to the Banking & Finance portion of the 2013 xAd and Telmetrics Mobile Path to Purchase Study (with research conducted by The Nielsen Company).
Banks and Financial institutions might want to consider investing in both a native app and a mobile website. Consumers use both mobile approaches to fulfill different needs (transactions via app and research via mobile web). In fact, the research suggests that an optimized mobile website might even be more important. Here’s a snippet from xAd:
For driving conversions, Banking & Finance mobile researchers indicated that an optimized mobile site is the most important feature for both devices (40 percent for smartphone, 37 percent for tablet).
Having a well optimized mobile site is the top ranked feature in the eyes of users when it comes to mobile banking, followed by the existence of a nearby location and easy-to-find contact information. These features correspond nicely to the most popular mobile banking activities: Completing a transaction, looking up information and finding a nearby location (so you better make sure your geo-location feature works correctly in-the-wild).
While half of mobile Banking & Finance activity is transactional, including paying bills, transferring funds, paying via PayPal, etc., the remaining 50 percent of mobile users are researching general banking information and/or looking for business location details. The majority of mobile search and browsing activity is spent researching checking and savings accounts followed by credit cards. And while 50 percent of mobile banking users are looking to make a transaction right away, 25 percent are still undecided and researching their decision.
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So you know you need a mobile app and an optimized site, prominent contact info and features that let users complete transactions and searches easily. But knowing what features to include is only half the battle. Without knowing who your target audience is, presenting those features in a pleasing way is a total shot in the dark. For banking, make sure the site or app you'[re developing or testing isn’t stuffy, clunky or dated-looking, because nearly half of mobile banking users are under 35. The trend toward mobile savvy users who have a penchant for completing transactions on smartphones is only going to increase as the kids who have been using mobile devices since childhood become adults.
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Knowing your end users and how they use apps is an integral part of successful development and testing. Keeping on eye on user trends – from age to the features they like to the way they interact with apps and mobile web – will help you launch a successful app.