It’s no surprise that mobile integration has become central to the operations of financial institutions – consider, for example, how many times you check your phone each day. I guarantee that your members use their devices frequently as well, and therefore rely on your credit union to provide the latest in mobile-banking technology to make their transactions as convenient as possible. In fact, according to a survey by Bankrate, 63 percent of all smartphone users have at least one financial app.

Jami Jennings is director of direct channels at software solutions provider EPL, Inc., in Birmingham, Ala.
Jami Jennings, director of direct channels at EPL

Here’s how your credit union can stay ahead of the digital curve and develop a winning mobile-first strategy:

Find the right technology partner. Finding the right partner will be crucial in executing a mobile strategy. You should thoroughly vet all provider options, assessing functionality, user experience and security. If you select an innovative partner that also focuses heavily on customer engagement, you’ll be able to provide members with the latest tools the digital world offers backed by the peace of mind that comes with responsive service.

Look for customization. One-size-fits-all mobile solutions are commonplace these days, but can hinder member-engagement efforts if they aren’t adaptable to a wide array of unique needs. Your mobile app should be highly customizable, allowing you to deliver a personalized experience to every member. It’s also important to have the flexibility to tailor your product offerings to members through the app itself, subsequently generating more revenue opportunities.

Focus on the user experience. Aside from building the platform, having members download your app really is only the first step. Whether they decide to actually use it depends entirely on the user experience. Is it easy to navigate? Is the design sleek and intuitive? Is the most important information they need, such as an overview of their accounts and latest transactions, quickly accessible? If you answered “no” to even one of these questions, the odds greatly increase that they will cease using the app altogether.

Consider the big picture. A mobile-first strategy should account for the experience of the user across all channels, from online banking to in-branch – it cannot operate in a vacuum. The in-branch experience is still essential to building and maintaining relationships with your members, and should be mirrored on digital platforms. Consider how your credit union can leverage mobile data (and vice versa) to create a better experience for members across the board.

Keep cybersecurity top-of-mind. The good news is that according to a survey conducted by the Fed, 71 percent of people find mobile banking to be very safe or somewhat safe. The bad news is that this trust can be lost in an instant. It only takes one cybersecurity failure to lose the long-established and hard-earned trust of your members. With that in mind, your mobile strategy must prioritize cybersecurity and keeping your members’ data safe. More connected devices lead to more vulnerabilities, which must be proactively planned for and constantly monitored.

For all credit unions, developing a mobile-first strategy has now become critical in our increasingly connected world. The prevalence of smartphone usage is only gaining more stream. By taking these considerations into account, you can ensure your credit union is well-positioned for future success in the digital age.