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The number of online banking apps is huge indeed! According to a JD Power study, approximately 30% of US bank customers surveyed work with them only through online channels. These are both mobile and online banking. Now, actually, many seek to get rid of paper money and work only with electronic one. In Sweden, for example, banks have achieved tremendous success in this regard. In particular, now only about 2% of transactions in this country are conducted with cash. Analysts at Capgemini BNP Paribas claim that by 2020 this share will drop to 1%. Well, the year has just begun, so we have yet to see how it will actually be. However, a certain trend can be traced - the future is reserved for online banking apps.
Nevertheless, not everything is as rosy as it might seem at first glance. To be precise, online banking app customers are mostly dissatisfied with the quality of banking services. This can be partially explained by the habit and deliberate lack of any expectations when going to the physical department of a bank, partially by technological illiteracy. Nonetheless one should also consider the simple lack of important functions in online banking applications. That's what we’ll talk about today, trying to answer the question of how to make users happy and what features should definitely be in an online banking app.
Let’s first stick with the basics
Sure, you are blooming with enthusiasm right now and want to implement mega-sophisticated features such as artificial intelligence. We perfectly understand your passion and will talk more about AI further. However, first, let's figure out which features exactly should be in an online banking app, so that it makes sense at all.
So, the optimal functionality of an online banking app should include a wide range of operations, in particular:
- the ability to fully manage your finances remotely 24/7/365;
- viewing account balances;
- ability to pay for utility bills;
- opening deposit accounts;
- payment card order;
- receiving statements on the movement of funds on accounts;
- money transfers, P2P transfers;
- SMS and e-mail notification of operations on accounts;
- online consultations of bank specialists;
- ability to pay for services of mobile operators, Internet providers, cable television, etc;
- setting and changing limits including when making payments abroad;
- block/unblock payment cards;
- payments to the accounts of individuals and legal entities;
- interbank payments;
- creation of virtual cards for Internet payments;
- payments for goods and services;
- regular payments according to customer-generated templates and schedules;
- access to the operations archive, printing of scanned copies of receipts or sending them by email;
- opening and replenishment of deposits;
- filing an application and decision on obtaining a loan;
- repayment of credit debt.
Quite a list it is! However, without these functions you won’t do any good. And even after their implementation there is still a lot of stuff worth considering. For example, you should not overload the online banking app with a large number of features that are quite indirectly related to banking itself, such as job search or origami delivery. Better focus on signing partnership agreements with specialized services and provide the opportunity to pay with your application.
What you need to pay special attention to:
The issue of cybersecurity and information transfer channels safety in online banking is a factor of paramount importance. You are obliged to provide users with safe storage of funds. This question is relevant for individuals and even more important for a business that has much higher average turnover and the number of transactions.
The protection of personal data in online banking, first of all, is carried out by following software and technical methods:
- the use of electronic digital signature;
- cryptographic algorithms for encrypting data transmission channels and transmitted information;
- the use of one-time passwords, the generation algorithm of which is based on random numbers. Sometimes a client is given a token device - a keychain similar to a USB-compatible flash drive - on which one-time passwords are constantly generated, consisting of random numbers with a certain minimum period of validity (most often one minute);
- the use of one-time passwords that a bank sends to a client’s mobile phone + a permanent password known only to the account holder;
- the use of a virtual keyboard: this way fraudsters won’t be able to steal authorization data using malware that capture them from a physical keyboard;
- SMS informing about each payment made from the account. The client promptly (maximum 1 minute) receives a message on the account transaction on their mobile phone, and if the client suspects something their can contact the bank in several minutes and block the payment;
- limiting the duration of the session - in case of user inactivity, the session in the system will be closed after a certain time. After that, to resume work, you will need to re-authenticate;
- connection history - with this function the user will know if someone else has connected to the system, and will also be able to track all unauthorized operations if they were performed.
And don’t think that by implementing one or two of these functions you will secure your online banking app. In fact, you should provide as many levels of protection as possible! Just don’t go for an overkill, security measures shouldn’t be made at the expense of user experience and user-friendliness of the interface. We’ve warned you!
Explore new horizons
We have already mentioned above that one of the key problems faced by the financial industry today is the risk of deterioration in relations with customers as they switch to digital interaction. Let's face it: online banking apps and websites are pretty pale. For many years, personal relationships were the standard, as customers could build relationships with a bank employee who knew about their financial situation and helped them achieve their financial goals. According to Roy Morgan, only 32% of customers use traditional bank branches, which means a significant reduction in opportunities for creating personal relationships with customers.
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can turn the tide in this industry. The goal of AI collaboration tools is to provide customers with online banking apps that understand what they want and help them achieve this.
Imagine a situation when a simple digital portal of a bank turns into a virtual financial assistant, which focuses solely on helping to do everything possible for the financial stability of the client. An assistant who never sleeps and constantly works in the background, monitoring general financial data in real time and giving out the most important information about finances and the possibilities for taking reasonable measures.
Such an assistant will provide measures on achieving a financial stability, recommending simple ways to save even more, spend wisely and make plans for your financial future. AI will be with the client everywhere, allowing to interact with it from a mobile phone in chat or by voice through connected home devices. Finally, the assistant will not only track your historical data, but will also be able to help predict upcoming financial events.
Sounds rather utopian, isn’t it? But actually it is quite feasible! The main thing is to think carefully about how the interaction with the user will be carried out, as well as rely on the experience of existing assistants like Alexa, to whom the designers gave a certain semblance of personality. This can significantly improve user experience, increase customer confidence, and in the long run become a huge competitive advantage. The key step is not to be afraid to experiment!
The whole bank in your pocket
The increasing popularity of smartphones as an Internet access channel and a payment tool dictates the need for an adapted mobile banking app. Perfectly, it should be developed for iOS and Android, as well as the possibility of payment using smartphone with an NFC module.
Generally speaking, the demand for some functions has remained stably high. This is a set of “basic” functions, which we have already mentioned above and they are associated with obtaining information about the status of accounts, payments and transfers.
Here, for example, is the function of viewing information on a card, sending details to other people, viewing information about the cost of servicing/re-issuing a card and various related stuff. In addition, an important block of functions is various payments, viewing detailed information on an already conducted operation, etc. Keep in mind, such functions in one form or another are implemented in every banking app, so the competitive advantage depends rather on how convenient they are.
There are also a number of functions that are in great demand among users, but so far either have not been implemented at all, or the quality of their work leaves much to be desired. A good example is scanning a receipt. Now, users of banking applications have to manually retype the details from the receipt. This is inconvenient: the keyboard on smartphones is small, and you need to enter a lot of data, so the risk of error is high. The ability to scan a barcode or QR code on receipts to automatically fill in details would save users time and effort. Consider this a cool idea at our expense!
In general, the popularity of mobile banking apps features can be clearly seen in the infographic below.
Perhaps enough for today. Of course, the list of features listed here is far from complete, but their presence is already a peculiar sign of quality and concern for users. At least you have something to rely on when writing software requirement specifications now! By the way, we have already described exactly how to write them in our article Tips to write startup Software requirements specification understandable even for your grandma. Check it out. And also in our blog you can either learn more about fintech software development from this article How to build fintech startup or talk with our experts!