GlobalData Plc

Slowdown in mobile banking poses dilemma for banks

Trend data from GlobalData’s annual Retail Banking Insight Survey shows that, despite the ongoing focus on mobile banking, consumer adoption of this channel has stalled. The 2016 survey found that 11% of global online consumers accessed their bank via their mobile device, a proportion that is no higher than in 2013/14.

The implication is that mobile banking is close to peak adoption, and that banks will have to work hard to overcome consumer resistance to this channel. Our research indicates that by far the two biggest reasons for non-usage are concerns about security and preference for using other channels.

This presents a challenge for banks that are seeking to cut costs by reducing their branch networks. Although branch traffic is falling, our survey found that branches still play a huge role in customer acquisition, and that, contrary to expectations, young consumers are heavier users of this channel than older consumers in several markets.

Artificial intelligence (AI) offers a means for banks to engage mobile refuseniks. 2017 will see significant growth in the number of AI-powered banking chatbots during the year. Crucially, consumers can interact with chatbots via natural language, often via popular services such as Facebook Messenger and Amazon Echo.

Banks will therefore go to where their customers are, rather than vice-versa. They will be able to embed themselves into their customers’ lives, and, using AI, deliver high-quality insights that anticipate users’ needs even before they have been clearly articulated.

While the traditional mobile banking app may be reaching the limits of its usefulness, chatbots have the potential to reinvigorate the bank-customer relationship.

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