A vast majority – 72% – of U.S. adult smartphone users have encountered difficulty when trying to use a mobile banking app, research released this week has found. The survey of 600 smartphone users was conducted by The Adcom Group of Companies and commissioned by Virtual Hold Technology.
Consumers shared their specific issues with mobile banking apps: 28% said the mobile app freezes or crashes, 26% have experienced a dropped internet connection while mobile banking, 25% said there were insufficient transaction details or filtering options, 21% said they could not easily speak to a customer service representative, 20% had problems opening an app, 19% have had problems logging in or setting up an app, 18% reported missing pending transactions or balance discrepancies, 17% said there were missing historic transactions, 16% have experienced delays due to payment fulfillment constraints, 15% were unable to schedule or modify payments or transfer funds, and the list goes on.
The first two issues cited by consumers belong to the telecom service providers who provide smartphone users with connectivity. But the remaining problems can and should be taken seriously by mobile app development teams. The transaction data problems, such as lack of transaction details and missing historic transactions, suggest disconnects between mobile banking and core banking systems. Account set-up problems could likely be fixed by streamlining the account opening process, as BBVA and some others have done. The difficulty speaking to a customer service rep could be fairly easily addressed by adding click-to-call and click-to-text buttons to an app.
Consumers also reported problems with mobile reward programs. Close to half (40%) said they've had trouble finding a specific reward, 31% said they had difficulty understanding the process of redeeming rewards, 29% had issues with logging in and opening the app. This presents a strong case for clearer communication and cleaner mobile app design for reward programs. This, too, may be partially out of banks' hands and the purview of their mobile rewards partners. But financial institutions can exert some influence on these programs and insist on intuitive app design from their providers.
Banks don't necessarily hear about all of these mobile banking app problems from customers directly. The study found that 31% of consumers said they had hung up before speaking to customer service to solve their financial app use problem due to long hold times. This may be a call center staffing issue, but it would also suggest that mobile app developers need to build more ways of communicating with customer service into their programs.
All of these app use problems are more than inconvenient for customers, they have direct impact on bank providers themselves. The study found that 30% of customers would delete their smartphone app after experiencing a dead end, and 28% share such negative experiences on Facebook.