The most valuable bank application features are essential to have when the banking industry is in a digital arms race for customer attention. With a majority of Americans now using digital bank options, services have moved away from traditional brick-and-mortar and shifted towards the online customer experience. Consumers now expect online, mobile, and convenient access to their personal finance.
The key differentiator between financial institutions? The most valuable bank application features focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience (CX). Those who can provide services that fit a lifestyle geared around digitization will capture the interest and patronage of the larger market. A customer-centric approach to digital access is critical.
As a result, banks have invested heavily in digital banking capabilities. According to Gartner, 81% of industry companies compete on the battleground of CX. Offering new and innovative services that improve the quality of customer interaction are central to the future plans of most institutions.
So what bank application features can capture market share and give a positive return on investment for banks in the middle of a digital transformation? Let’s look into eight of the most valued bank app features you can use to improve the customer experience.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) payments allow a user to send direct money transfers to another person. As more consumers go cardless and use digital wallets, rapid money exchanges with colleagues, friends, and family have become ubiquitous (as the popularity of Venmo can attest). Everyone can split the restaurant bill, pay back old debts, and purchase services through convenient, fast, and simple P2P transfers. That gives consumers independence and privacy, making it one of the biggest drivers of consumer engagement. Side bonus: the technology reduces the transfer costs related to outdated transfer mediums (branch wait times, the use of cash, relying on tellers, etc).
Personalized money planners
Fintech and finance applications are rife with budget calculators, tax notes, and mortgage repayment calendars. Consumers have come to expect such “digital help” tools, especially considering the data collected by banks on the back end. Personalized money management gives users a sense of control, along with actionable insights into their financial conditions, and that type of support is useful for improving engagement metrics. For example, a simple repayment graph for a consumer who cannot make sense of their loan schedule drives value. Customers value banks that offer services that leverage AI, behavior analysis on spending data, and finance management technology.
Banks build a positive customer experience through multiple touch points of interaction. The more beneficial interactions created, the higher the user retention. The best app feature will include personalization as a way to build better CX.
For example, a spendthrift will find information about automated savings tools pertinent, relevant, and helpful. A bank that recognizes the needs of its client and offers messaging that solves customer-centric problems will be far more likely to earn repeat business. Marketing campaigns can also become much more effective by sending purpose-built promotions and discounts. And to the consumer, the bank app finally starts to feel like a digital asset, rather than a cumbersome distraction.
As an extension to personalized services, banks can use effective smartphone alerts and notifications to drive value for their users. Push notifications are not text messages but app-based alerts that grab attention and create further communication between users and businesses.
For example, a bank can set up repeat alerts for a mortgage owner, giving a series of helpful notes, vibrations, emails, and sounds before each payment is due. Not only will such a notification feature help stave off delinquencies or late payments, but it fosters communication. Your customer will be grateful to avoid any penalties for late fees, and the consumer-to-business relationship can flourish.
Voice payments and chatbots are other ways you can leverage bank notification features to drive customer satisfaction. Simple commands integrated with at-home smart speakers and other IoT devices make for a seamless customer experience.
Biometrics and advanced security
Payment security and privacy are one of the top concerns of banking consumers. As data becomes more precious and the threat of financial damage from identity theft looms, consumers want high-level security features. It is a matter of trust, as 81% of surveyed consumers said they would stop engaging with a brand after a data breach.
Strong security does require balance, as too many aggressive protections can cause negative friction that once again deters consumer engagement. If it is too hard to log in or access an account, consumers will look elsewhere or go to other businesses.
Many banks are adopting low friction, high secure feature options. Biometrics is a common answer to the problem. Fingerprints and facial recognition are secure and safe login methods that allow for easy access. Voice security systems are also a highly useful feature for service teams that can confirm the identity of a user on the telephone while in conversation.
Digital payment and deposit options
For most consumers, mobile deposits and digital payments offer the highest levels of convenience. Instead of having to make phone calls to mortgage companies and issuers, a user simply enters their credit card and account details to make payments. Or, instead of having to drive to the bank, wait in line, and spend time depositing a check, mobile deposits can have the money safely and securely in the bank within moments. And with the speed of ledger transactions, an account holder can use the deposited amounts right away.
Banks can take advantage of the goodwill and offer additional payment services. For example, provide automatic bill payments and setups for recurring payment schedules. Or create shortcuts that make it easy for users to initiate a transfer or deposit.
Best of all, high-quality image recognition technology ensures that security is not affected (it is even common now for official documentation uploads like passports).
Mobile access and cardless payment acceptance
Integrated payment options are another consumer favorite. Many users want to pay through digital payment processors such as Square or Paypal. Others have digital wallets such as Apple Wallet attached to their smartphones. Many consumers rely on a completely mobile banking experience, as it is a flexible and convenient way to access bank services with minimal hassle.
Banks can also adopt QR codes as a feature for cardless access—without diminishing overall app security. The feature grew in importance after the effects of COVID-19, as contactless payments are now demanded . Plus, card-not-present and Buy-Now Pay Later apps and technologies continue to increase in popularity: mobile access options will become a valued bank app feature.
Respondents of the Ipsos-Forbes Advisor U.S. Weekly Consumer Confidence Survey found the ability to view statements and account balances as the second most important feature of a bank app (taking a 33% share, second behind mobile cheque deposits). Most bank users want an easy and simple way to track, measure, and understand their current financial situation.
With that in mind, a high-quality interface with low user friction, simple design, and visually-represented insights functions as your best feature. Whenever possible, invest in low-cost design options that give users one-touch access to services, colorful delivery of data, and intuitive buttons and dashboards that are easy to read and understand.