By John Campbell, Regional Director
This year a core focus for financial institutions is to develop their transactional based services for smartphone devices. Statistics show us that smartphone usage is growing month by month, and 91% of UK retailers are saying that they expect a sharp increase in mobile sales as m-commerce develops.
Smartphone users have increasing expectations of services on the mobile and as a result banks, as well as financial and professional services companies, need to review and focus on delivering an optimum user experience. We can see from current advertising that banks are leading with campaigns to position themselves as the helpful bank (RBS) and the bank you can Trust (Lloyds TSB).
The help raising the perceptions in the mobile environment offered by the institutions must strive towards demonstrating optimum usability, a high quality user experience and be a secure environment to maximise user confidence.
There are an increasing number of transaction based services now available and, although there is not yet a published m-commerce standard, there are several methods and approaches being implemented. The recently formed MCJIC (Mobile Commerce Joint Industry Committee) is aiming to plan for the explosion in m-commerce in 2011 including publishing standards. Good examples of money based transactions on the phone can be seen with PayPal mobile and the recently released mobile banking service from First Direct.
PayPal has introduced the bump technology to enable phone users to easily transfer money between phones by “bumping” them together. Banks are supporting the contactless creditcard with Visa and Mastercard each offering small payments under £15 (Visa) and £10 (Mastercard). Contactless payment for small transactions using your phone is just around the corner, making your phone your digital wallet. Starbucks in the US have announced the Mobile App to pay for your coffee with your mobile phone.
The challenge for the finance industry in this area is building user trust in the technology. Asking users if they would transfer money across the mobile or wireless network often gets an immediate negative response. Banks will need to build trust by exceptional user experience to include instant feedback, a detailed audit trail and an instant notification/alert system to keep assuring the user that the transaction has been successful. They will need to take the time to map the user flows in detail, with creative design to make the process simple and undertake comprehensive multi variant prototype testing. Trust is built over time and enduring; distrust is immediate and difficult to win back.