Financial institutions of every shape, size and type recognize the benefits the mobile channel offers: a lower cost to serve, increased customer satisfaction, retention and a higher return on investment. But for many, breaking through the mobile adoption glass ceiling that lies just beyond the threshold of early adopters has been challenging. Many financial institutions are on a mobile adoption path that attracts early adopters within a year of offering the service, but the trajectory then stagnates to include just a small additional percentage of adopters over the next two years.

To move beyond the initial wave of early adopters and reach more customers, financial service providers must promote widespread consumer acceptance of the mobile channel. By leveraging the key drivers of consumer adoption, providers can promote a faster rate of adoption that will establish mobile financial services as the norm.

For organizations that aspire to break through the glass ceiling of mobile adoption, there are five factors of consumer acceptance to consider. Consumers must decide if mobile financial services are useful, accessible, secure, familiar and easy to use. How consumers perceive mobile financial services in terms of these five factors will impact the adoption outcome.

1. Make the case that mobile is useful.

Knowing what customers find useful can enable financial service providers to develop marketing messaging that will resonate with potential adopters. To accelerate broad adoption, providers need to offer compelling answers to the question, "Why do I need to transact through the mobile channel?"

2. Provide access to mobile through all devices.

Simply put, the more accessible a product, service or technology is, the greater the opportunity to use it. To break through the glass ceiling and attract additional users and transactional activity, the mobile channel must be made more attractive and accessible. Providers should ensure mobile accessibility for as many customers as possible and support multiple platforms and devices, including tablets, to tap into a broader customer base.

3. Help consumers overcome security concerns.

The perception that mobile transactions are less secure than a desktop computer, laptop or card-based transactions is a big factor to overcome in turning skeptics into users. To convert a greater share of the mass market, perceptions about mobile security must be properly addressed.

4. Familiarity creates a natural transition across channels.

Consistency in branding and experience across channels allow for an easier and more comfortable transition from one channel to another. Facebook, for example, does an excellent job of providing consistency. Consumers enjoy a consistent experience when they access their Facebook accounts, no matter what channel, platform or device they use. If a mobile offering is consistent with what is presented in other channels, consumers will recognize and feel comfortable with the service.

5. Mobile services must be easy to use.

Technology is intended to make life easier, but if it's not easy to use, only early adopters or tech-savvy consumers will continue to use the technology. In a market where new technologies and feature sets are rapidly developed and promoted as differentiators, providers need to understand the importance of balancing the sophistication of the technology with simplicity for the consumer.

To ensure mobile services are easy to use, providers should deliver an intuitive user experience that eliminates the need for training prior to conducting simple activities. Communication with customers via posts and collateral about the benefits and ease of mobile use will also be effective.

For the majority of consumers, mobile technology is a part of everyday life. Mobile financial service providers need to focus on mobile as a viable channel for transactions and position it as an integral part of the consumer experience. Those that devote the time and effort to gaining consumer acceptance will be rewarded with a higher rate of adoption. Financial institutions have the knowledge and capability to enable this acceptance. By acting now, you can extend the benefits of the mobile channel to the broadest possible range of customers.

John Moon is manager of mobile adoption marketing at Fiserv. This post was adapted from a Fiserv white paper published in June.