When inclusive financial institutions took the important step to move away from face-to-face banking into the internet realm, an important question was raised: how to establish a mobile platform that encourages your customers both to access their accounts and maintain regular contact?
Application web access represents 55% of internet access in the United States, and thus for access creating an application would be the best way to provide access to the largest portion of your account holders. Applications can be quickly made for minimal cost.
On top of that, smartphones are becoming more accessible. Android devices which were once cost hundreds of dollars can now be obtained for a mere fraction of that.
However, the downside to applications is that they require constant updating. Because they act as a software on the user’s phone, they are more easily susceptible to security flaws that could bring your institution to its knees. Those flaws need to be independently updated for each of the different operating systems.
Building an application can indeed be done quickly, however an app that is quickly made will generally be low on functionality and non-intuitive. By investing more time in the creation of the application, you’re investing more money – which can be an issue for smaller institutions.
While browser traffic doesn’t represent as big of a portion of mobile internet traffic, it still represents a substantial amount of people. Those that are able to access an application are also able to access a mobile website. Unlike applications, mobile websites don’t require development on three different platforms to get to all users, and updating the system is a much simpler process.
Unfortunately at this point, websites aren’t quite as versatile as applications. Drop-down menus can be difficult to get to work on a mobile browser, screen sizes can have an effect on the aesthetics of the display, and complicated java or other plugins can see compatibility problems, forcing a simpler design.
Looking at the differences, it’s clear that there is no front-runner for what every inclusive financial institution should implement for their mobile banking. Instead, the choice depends considerably upon the account holder. A common practice in business is to include questions about application usability on customer surveys to get an idea of how popular an application might be to gauge if it’s worth the investment.
One area that smartphones have largely overcome is language barriers. Most phones now have the ability to display in dozens of languages, and have browsers that can do a rudimentary translation of most websites. Still, there are processes within both mobile website development systems and application development tools that allow for language selection, making both options inclusive for your clients irrespective of the language they read and speak.
Regardless of the decision, it’s clear that mobile banking is the wave of the future, and something that needs to be seriously considered. It provides an efficient and handy way for account holders to access their information on the go or from the comfort of their own home, and represents the largest portion of internet traffic. It’s also an area that is constantly evolving, so keeping an eye on the subject is important, and something we will strive to do for you with timely updates on emerging mobile internet and banking technologies as they come to light.
View the full list of Fern Software Blog posts here.