We already love mobile banking, so how can it get better?

Angus Kidman 9 January 2017

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90% of us are happy with the apps we have.

Australians love to moan about banks, but it turns out we're actually fairly content with the current approach to mobile banking. The chart below shows the percentage of customers who are either very satisfied or fairly satisfied with mobile banking apps for the 10 biggest banks, according to Roy Morgan:

The average across those 10 banks is 90.6%, which is an impressively high number. And that raises the question: what else can banks do to make those apps more compelling? We already have cardless cash and the ability to shunt money around and we can even apply for a home loan. What else is left?

While I'd never underestimate imagination, the answers aren't necessarily straightforward. One obvious area of expansion is to adopt contactless payment platforms like Android Pay or Apple Pay, making it possible to just tap your phone rather than your card. However, the ongoing stoush between Apple and the major banks makes that unlikely in the neat future for anyone other than ANZ. Meanwhile, the already high level of adoption for contactless payments through cards in Australia means it doesn't feel like such an urgent problem to solve here as it does in the US.

The other obvious possibility is for banks to provide more focused advice by analysing your account activity, but that requires treading carefully so that people feel their privacy is properly respected. It's also an area where some of the major banks have already had a crack and given up. Last year, ANZ killed off its MoneyManager tool. MoneyManager was browser-based, and the emphasis these days is on apps instead, so we might see that functionality resurface. But the challenge remains: when most people are already happy, you need to tinker carefully to make sure you don't actually end up making them less pleased.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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