COMMENTARY: Four Steps to Build a Consumer-Focused Mobile Payments Strategy
Crafting a mobile-payments strategy can be a daunting task. The technology is evolving rapidly, and so are consumer expectations. Rather than starting with capabilities, a successful mobile strategy begins with an understanding of how people engage with their finances as part of their daily lives. Evaluating how consumers use mobile channels to move money will inform a mobile-payments strategy that will drive value today and lay the foundation for future engagement.
There are four fundamental ways consumers move money: to pay others, to pay billers, to pay themselves, and to pay merchants and retailers, increasingly by using mobile apps and mobile wallets. According to the “Expectations & Experiences” consumer-trends survey from Fiserv, digital-wallet adoption increased from 8% in 2014 to 15% in 2017, strikingly similar to the adoption curve seen during online banking’s early years.
As the shift in consumer behavior continues, financial institutions can align their mobile-payments strategy to take advantage of changing preferences. The simple reality is consumers will make mobile payments when and where it is most convenient. Financial institutions that meet those preferences will be positioned to capture more transactions and deepen customer relationships. As mobile payments continue to mature, here are four recommendations for a strategy that will meet consumers’ evolving expectations.
Invest now in the mobile-payments options that consumers are already using. The mobile-banking app is a platform to deliver the experience consumers have come to expect. Optimizing offerings for the most prevalent mobile-payment types will help enable a financial institution to attract new customers and engage existing ones.
Examples include offering customers the ability to make mobile deposits and mobile transfers to both internal and external accounts, providing the ability to make mobile person-to-person payments, offering mobile photo bill pay and actionable push notifications, and exploring ways to enable people to use their mobile devices to monitor and manage their debit and credit cards.
Focus on the overall mobile-payments experience. Consider how consumers want to use mobile-payment services. The ideal user experience gives consumers ease and convenience at such an instinctive level that use becomes part of their daily routine. Tailoring capabilities to the mobile channel will help deliver the frictionless experiences consumers increasingly expect.
Emphasize security and educate consumers about it. Security remains a top concern for consumers. and they expect their financial institutions to be a trusted partner when it comes to moving and handling their money. Implementing a secure environment, and communicating this to consumers, helps to build trust in both the financial institution and its mobile-payment platform.
Contextualize the benefits and capabilities of the channel. Think beyond the payment itself and consider the context of the user’s life. They want financial services that reflect the way they live and work today. In marketing, emphasize how mobile payments can make life easier and how capabilities such as notifications and alerts can help customers stay on top of their finances.
This might mean talking about how mobile can help people remember to pay bills on time or notify them about possible fraudulent transactions. Being contextually relevant to a customer who is on the go will help build a stronger engagement with them.
In the constantly evolving and complex mobile-payments space, one thing has remained the same: consumers want an experience that anticipates their needs for convenience, security, ease, and speed. Taking a purposeful approach to meeting that expectation anywhere, in any way, and at any time remains the starting point for any strategy.
Meg Beck is senior manager, product strategy, electronic payments, at Fiserv Inc., Brookfield, Wis.