7 mobile app features that will be essential for bank customers

The spike in mobile app usage during the pandemic is not news. But the extent to which customers view mobile banking as essential has intensified.

“The share of people in the United States and in all markets who won’t tolerate having to go online is growing,” said Peter Wannemacher, principal analyst at Forrester. In other words, many customers get frustrated when they are forced to log in to the bank’s website to complete a task because the option is not present on the app.

Bank customers are increasingly transacting on their institutions’ apps, rather than passively checking them for information. Fifty-four percent of American adults with bank accounts believe they should be able to accomplish any financial task through a mobile device, according to Forrester’s 2022 Mobile Banking Survey – a view that reached the majority during Forrester’s surveys for the first time in 2020. As mobile becomes the hub of people’s relationship with their financial institutions, it’s more on banks to spruce up their apps with the tools consumers want, beyond the basics of reviewing transactions and depositing checks.

Mike Welsh, creative director at Mobiquity, a digital product consultancy, also found that consumers were focusing more on apps.

“You see a much richer expectation that consumers have of mobile banking,” he said. “They’re looking for a moment to ‘go in and start banking,’ whether it’s taking out loans, getting paid if they’re an Uber driver, or using other forms of currency such as cryptography.”

In a recent report, Forrester identified seven features currently underutilized among US mobile banking apps, but the authors, including Wannemacher, expect to be “must have” by 2025. Having such features that go beyond Traditional standard features such as remote control of deposit and the ability to transfer money are important because they will further engage customers, rather than just retain them.

“Deepening relationships and being seen as [a bank] that someone wanna working with, rather than just continuing to work with – that difference is important,” Wannemacher said. More than half of respondents to Forrester’s 2022 Mobile Banking Survey think their primary bank’s mobile app is about the same as others, rather than superior. Another 10% think it’s worse.

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