Downloadable Tablet Apps Said to Be 'Next Frontier' to Win Younger Customers
Fitzgerald, Kate, American Banker
Byline: Kate Fitzgerald
Developing the slickest mobile-tablet applications that enable consumers to manage routine credit and debit card spending through their larger touchscreens will be essential for large banks looking to hold on to younger, more affluent consumers over the next year, new research suggests.
As distribution of tablet devices such as Apple Inc.'s iPad surges, the race is on among banks to develop the most feature-rich applications for diverse banking products for the newest generation of devices, says Mary Monahan, executive vice president and research director, Javelin Strategy & Research.
And the banks that do it best likely will keep sought-after younger consumers that prize mobility and who are enamored of downloadable tablet apps that offer brighter, more colorful touchscreen account-management features, she predicts.
"In discussions with consumers, we learned that one of the top reasons younger consumers stay with a bank is the quality of its mobile-banking programs, and tablet apps are the next frontier," Monahan says. "Banks that offer the best mobile account-management apps across all types of devices and banking products are going to be in a position win younger, more affluent consumers."
In its "Mobile Banking, Smartphone and Tablet Forecast 2011-2016," which Javelin released Feb. 6, the firm gathered data primarily from among 3,180 consumers surveyed online in June; the report also included data from two similar surveys conducted in March and October last year.
Some 48% of U.S. banks provide credit card account access through mobile-banking channels such as smartphones, Monahan estimates, based on Javelin's latest research.
A growing number of banks provide downloadable mobile-banking apps for tablets, but so far only Citigroup Inc. claims to have a downloadable online-banking app for tablets that includes both credit and debit card account management.
Other banks likely have such products in the pipeline, Monahan says, although she could not cite examples.
"Many banks have mobile apps for credit cards, too, and porting them over to tablets should not be hard to do," she says. "We are likely to see more development along these lines soon."
Even as banks introduce snazzy new mobile-banking apps for tablets, consumers continue to use diverse channels to access mobile-banking services "from their computers to their smartphones to their tablets to calling customer service," Monahan notes. "Consumers want it all, and they want a consistent, simple experience in mobile banking. …