A new study focusing on mobile and internet banking behaviors finds that no matter how cutting-edge a mobile banking app is, account balance, transaction history and money transfer features are utilized most often.

“Everyone checks balances, reviews recent transaction history and makes transfers — same for mobile and internet banking,” said Robb Gaynor, founder and chief product officer of the Austin, Texas-based Malauzai Software, Inc., a mobile and internet banking firm.

In April 2017, Malauzai released its monthly Monkey Insights “little data” report that aggregated statistics from more than 435 banks and credit unions, covering 13.2 million logins from 730,000 active internet and mobile banking users.

Gaynor, who counts 125 credit unions as clients, explained that an average mobile banker logs in 19 times a month, while an average internet user logs in eight times a month. During March 2017, for example, 100 percent of end-users viewed their balances and reviewed recent transaction history. But that statistic can be a bit misleading.

Robb Gaynor, founder and chief product officer of Malauzai Software, Inc
Robb Gaynor, founder and chief product officer of Malauzai Software, Inc

“That is because balances and recent history show in the landing page for everyone to see,” said Gaynor. Even so, however, another stat makes it clear that a good number of users would prioritize this option, seeing as users check balances and history 77 percent of the time. “Only 23 percent of the overall interactions in digital banking go beyond balances and history to perform some other task.”

According to the Monkey Insights March report, 5.8 percent of total sessions lead to executing a money transfer, 3.9 percent of total sessions lead to accessing bill pay, 2.5 percent of total sessions lead to viewing an image, 1.6 percent of total sessions lead to viewing card status and 1.6 percent of total sessions lead to making a deposit.

Gaynor’s findings align, in part, with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System’s 2016 Consumers and Mobile Financial Services report, which stated that the three most common mobile banking activities among mobile banking users were checking account balances or recent transactions (94 percent), transferring money between an individual’s own accounts (58 percent) and receiving an alert, such as a text message, push notification or e-mail from their financial institution (56 percent).

“Mobile banking users appear to be using mobile applications to conduct their banking transactions, as 82 percent of mobile banking users have installed their bank’s application on their phones,” the report stated.

The Consumers and Mobile Financial Services report also found that remote deposit capture and online bill payment via a mobile phone were the next most common activities, at 48 percent and 47 percent, respectively.

App feature focus
Determining a mobile app strategy depends on numerous factors and respective credit union member demographics. And while it is common for a CU to add app features, Gaynor said he seldom has clients asking to drop a banking app feature. This is due to the cost and time allotment, he said, adding there isn’t any value in eliminating a feature.

“A typical credit union updates two to three times per year for mobile banking apps and the same frequency for internet banking,” said Gaynor. “This is a nonstop program of work. The project team never disbands. This constant process is what is required in the new digital age. I have rarely seen a CU decommission a feature.”

Ron Moses, general manager for Consumer & Commercial Solutions at the Monett, Miss.-based Jack Henry & Associates, said the firm’s 133 credit union clients can brand apps to their liking as well as “tweak features, user entitlements and risk, which all affect how the app behaves.”

The most-utilized feature on the Jack Henry app is “transfers” and the least-used feature is “card management,” noted Moses.

“I would speculate that the transfer feature is the most used app feature due to the convenience of moving funds for purchases or payments,” he said. “The card management feature may be much more infrequent due to those types of activities still being more common from a PC or workstation while at work.”

If a Jack Henry client wants to explore app updates or new features, Moses said “release versions and notes are posted to the client portal and emails announcing new features are emailed to opted-in users.”

App convenience
The Consumers and Mobile Financial Services report found that the No. 1 reason users access a mobile banking app is due to convenience. As such, numerous vendors are looking for ways to enhance existing mobile applications with even more convenience-adding features.

The Atlanta, Ga.-based Gro Solution, which has 30 credit union clients, is not an app manufacturer, rather it offers a solution that integrates within mobile banking apps to support functions, such as account opening and funding.

Gro Solution Chief Revenue Officer Paul Mackowick
Gro Solution Chief Revenue Officer Paul Mackowick

“Our solution is linear, meaning that the member or prospect starts at one point and completes to the end. At that point, the applicant is a member of the credit union with the chosen products added to their portfolio,” said Gro Solution Chief Revenue Officer Paul Mackowick.

“The credit union can opt to offer some of our optional features, such as Carrier Data Integration, which can populate forms with data from the member’s billing record automatically, saving much time in data entry,” added Mackowick.

Looking forward, Gaynor said credit union executives should consider adding the following app features: auto balance/quick balance, debit card on/off switch and account to account (A2A) transfers.

“All these apps are being aggressively launched by many credit unions,” Gaynor observed. “Conversational banking is a trend to watch. Chatbots, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are driving the newest trend in digital banking.”