The Future of the Mobile Bank

In Insights, Loyalty and Rewards, Mobile Solutions by Giles Sutherland

Your wallet is about to be totally mobile. Are banks next?


by Giles Sutherland
Vice President Strategic Alliances

Virtual banks have already taken their hesitant first steps: ING led with digital first and supplements with real life “cafés”; in the US Simple and  Movenbank pushed the agenda a step further by creating totally branch-less prepaid debit accounts with integrated Personal Financial Management (PFM) tools.But how much more effective will these kinds of services be once we can also remove the physical card, and cash, from the equation?All the necessary pieces are in place and the banking system is ripe for this kind of disruption. In Canada and much of Europe, POS systems have long been equipped for tap and pay purchasing. With the introduction of Apply Pay, the US is catching up stat.  As the trend towards online shopping is increasingly driven by users on mobile devices, and services like Amazon Prime (and others) bring daily shopping to consumers’ fingertips, consumers everywhere are becoming more familiar with the concept of mobile-centric commerce of all forms.Whether a brand new enterprise, or a way for existing banks to reach a totally different market, there’s huge potential to take mobile banking beyond just the convenience of purchasing by phone, towards an end-to-end banking experience, in the palm of your hand.

It opens up limitless creative ways to deliver a better, integrated and highly personalized customer experience through mobile—bringing back a level of personal service lost on a young generation that primarily interacts with banks through ATMs and web apps.

Using data that’s behavioural and local—supported by traditional bank-level security on the back end—the mobile bank experience can deliver financial products that are totally tailored to individual consumers and their habits. Those same data points will be a boon for fraud-prevention: if I’m a customer in the US and suddenly my credentials are being used in Canada, my bank can make sure my GPS location matches, or ping me to ask if that’s really where I’m making transactions.

On top of a suite of banking services and tools, I see three other considerations that would be essential to success for a fully mobile bank:

  • authentication: Sometimes we just need emergency cash. A cardless bank will need an innovative way for customers to authenticate ATM withdrawals. We’re seeing some early innovation in this area already using combinations of single use codes & geo-location data, and it is really exciting capability that promises to deliver really valuable usability for consumers.
  • simplicity: Focus on a target market and don’t try to be all things to all people. Customers with an existing mortgage or investments will be a tough sell, but a young crop of urban, highly mobile, tech savvy consumers will find adoption a cinch.Alternative financial services and the prepaid industry – where friction has been minimized and financial services have been packaged as mass market consumer products – offer valuable lessons.
  • flawless UX: If there’s one thing Apple has taught us it’s that user experience is everything. Invest in a seamless interface and don’t even think about bringing it to the public until you’ve worked through every possible chink in integration.

The back end will be the easy part. That’s where we come in. And in fact, Carta is the only company that has the full tech stack in house to support a totally mobile bank. Account provisioning, credential management, wallet integration, transaction processing, security and tokenization, all come on a flexible platform with open APIs—making it simple to connect with value-added services including PFM, rewards & loyalty or other applications.

If you’ve got the vision, we’ve got all the pieces (and a whole lot of vision of our own).