The coronavirus pandemic has decreased the pace of economic growth globally and due to this, the banking sector seems to have suffered a huge impact. Many banking institutions will have to deal with increased bad debts and Non-performing Assets (NPA). Moreover, their high operational costs will also fuel losses, making it difficult for some banking institutions to meet even the Break-Even point.

Banking industry experts have predicted that as soon as the pandemic is over, the banking institutions will have to reform their operations by inclining towards digital banking. In the recent past, we’ve seen many banking institutions that solely operate via digital channels, thus have much smaller operational costs when compared to a traditional banking infrastructure.

It must be noted that it is not only because of this pandemic disaster, but there is also a growing customer preference in favour of mobile banking. In 2018, 69% of Brits were using online banking services on a regular basis.

The reasoning behind the increasing popularity of online banking is obvious. Internet banking through mobile banking apps is convenient and easily available. It literally eliminates the need to visit the bank and wait in the queue for hours. Online banking mobile apps allow the users to access the services from anywhere using their mobile devices.

A Citi report states that 91% of the bank’s customers prefer using mobile banking apps instead of visiting the bank. Moreover, 68% of millennials believe that their smartphone can replace their physical wallet.

Security shall be the foremost priority

The banking mobile app security should be in your main focus. There is no doubt that you would need to make your mobile banking app very easy to use but at the same time, you also need to keep the user bank details and money secure. Here are some statistics that illustrate why effective security is the best feature you can have in your mobile banking app:

  • Almost 76% of banking customers are concerned about the data security risk with mobile banking apps.
  • If the users feel the app security is poor,  48% of them will switch banks.

Data Source: Payments

When it comes to fintech, the regulations are already very strict and enforced. Also, the mobile app markets (Playstore and iOS) take app security very seriously. If the app doesn’t comply with their security standards, they won’t even publish your app.The following are some measures you can take to make your banking mobile app resistant to cybercrime:

  • Pick a safe and reliable data storage option
  • Implement two-factor authentication
  • Never store login credentials, sensitive data, and transaction details on the mobile device.
  • Consider using an inactivity time on sessions
  • Guide users for the app security using a manual or guide.
  • Before launching, test the app for security breaches.

Building the Mobile Banking App – 7 Steps

1. Conduct a Research

The very first stage to mobile banking development is to conduct market research. Identify the competitors, user persona, alternative solutions, etc. This is necessary to know what will be the things that will make your app the best in the market, or at least the best in your market segment.

Not conducting a proper market research will be a mistake as without knowing the market, it will be hard to identify the customer pain points. Without knowing the issues there cannot be a solution. Knowing the pain points will help you in sketching out an app toolkit.

2. Wireframing and Prototyping

Every app starts with an idea in mind. Well, the banking mobile apps requirements are well-thought of way before the commercialization of the idea. But putting those requirements and features into a streamlined user experience is a hefty task.

The best practice is to begin with a low-fidelity wireframing process and sketch the home screens, dashboards, and the user journey. Just to be clear, the wireframes usually don’t have colours in it except from black and white.

Now, the time is to turn your wireframe into a clickable prototype which includes a basic presentation of the app interface and layouts. You can use dummy text and graphics so that you can feel how the app will work.

3. Design Your App

While the technologies and back-end development are considered to be crucial for a smooth mobile app development process, the app design is the most important factor when it comes to user experience. While there are innumerable tips on the internet on how to design your app, here are some tips pointed towards banking application development:

  • The colour palette, icons, typography, buttons, and forms should align with the bank’s brand guidelines.
  • The app navigation should be logical and provide convenience to the users.
  • The design elements such as icons, forms, buttons should be easy to understand.
  • The graphics should have meaning, you can choose the images or GIFs that make the users feel that the app is safe and friendly.
  • If the app is going to be used by users of different regions, you shall consider the cultural differences.

4. Choose the Tech Stack

To form the best architecture for your banking mobile application, you should focus on these four areas of mobile banking development – the front-end, back-end, cross-platform frameworks, and some essential features such as security, availability, and robustness.

You have two options for the type of your banking application development: Native app or hybrid app. Both of these have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Native apps are high performant and robust. While the native app development cost is higher, this development process is recommended for established businesses and funded startups, in this case, banks and venture-backed fintechs. Native apps allow developers to use the native functionality of mobile operating systems (iOS and Android), which helps in achieving astonishing user experience.

On the other hand, hybrid apps are meant to work on multiple mobile platforms using a unified codebase. These apps are developed using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JS. Moreover, the hybrid apps can work as PWA (Progressive Web Applications). Ionic Framework, Flutter, Kotlin, Phone Gap and Xamarin are some of the frameworks for creating hybrid apps.

5. Develop and Test

This is where the banking app idea is put into realization. Well, it is the most expensive step of creating a banking mobile application as it requires an ample amount of time and efforts by developers.

As per the IT industry trends, the best approach is to go with the agile development methodology which helps in faster development cycle and a reliable software. The agile methodology enables a swift and flexible banking app development by using the existing customer data. This iterative development process will help banking institutions come up with more innovative products and services.

6. Market and Feedback

When the development and testing is done and you are ready to market the app, upload the banking mobile app to the concerned app stores. You must focus on the feedback because no matter how accurately you’ve assumed the customer preferences and journey, there will always be some flaws and these are supposed to be resolved with feedback.

7. Improve and Update

Depending on the feedback you should keep improving the app and realising the updates. And don’t forget to inform the customer with new features that you’ve implemented with every update!

Features your Mobile Banking App should incorporate

Seamless customer onboarding

Onboarding the digital banking customers isn’t as simple as any other application. There are government regulations that should be kept in mind while developing the signup process. There are identity requirements such as KYC that should be simplified for the new customers.

User Profiles

The user profile includes the user information (name, phone number, email address, bank branch, bank account details, etc.). However, password/PIN authentication should be required to make changes to basic user details.

Transaction History

This feature allows the users to access their online passbook via the mobile banking app itself. In most of the cases, the online transaction history statements can be used as an authentic passbook statement.

The transaction details should be presented in a very simplified manner so that the users can comprehend it irrespective of their banking knowledge. The statements should be downloadable in .pdf and excel format.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are must for every application and banking mobile apps are no different. Usually, push notifications are classified into three types:

  • Promotional – notify users about offers, discounts, and deals.
  • Transactional – These are very important for the mobile banking apps as they inform users about their account-related information such as debits, credits, payment requests etc..
  • App-based – Such notifications are to request users to submit pending documents or change the passwords.

Locate the bank branch and ATMs

It is not a groundbreaking feature to have in a mobile banking app. It actually shows your customers how much you care about their convenience. You will need to integrate google maps into your native/hybrid banking mobile app. However, you will have to obtain the user’s permission to get their location if you want the nearby branch and ATM’ feature option to fully function in your banking  app.

QR Code/USSD based payments

The purpose of any mobile banking app is to make the banking services process convenient. Checking the account balance and exploring the services on offer is a small part of banking services. Making or accepting payments is one of the crucial jobs of every bank.

Your banking mobile app can allow the users to make payments via scanning receiver’s QR codes or by using the receiver’s account information. QR code-based payments are reliable and hassle-free as all the user has to do is to point the mobile camera towards the QR code. The QR codes consist of information related to the receiver’s bank account.

Another convenient way to make payment via mobile banking is the USSD transactions. However, the USSD payment feature has nothing to do with banking mobile apps, but it should be integrated with the app in regions where internet connectivity access is not widespread. USSD payments allow customers to enjoy a seamless banking experience even without internet access.

Some advanced features for your Banking Mobile App

Spending Tracker

Keeping an account of expenses can be a time-consuming task for an individual, but it is just a matter of an algorithm for a mobile banking app. An algorithm which will track the expenses of all of your customer’s transactions. While it is not the job of a bank to account for their customer’s expenses, having such a feature in the app will increase the user retention and satisfaction.

Repeat payment of bills

People pay for certain bills in regular intervals. To help them remember such payment dues, the banking mobile app can have payment reminder features. The feature can also make automatic payments for such services or bills, if the user allows the app to.

Cashback or Reward Points

Customer loyalty programs are trending in this era of digital transformation. While the cashback/rewards are often used in the eCommerce industry, banks can also leverage this functionality. Banks already have reward points for credit card transactions and the similar offers can be introduced with the mobile banking app payments or by increasing brand awareness about the bank.

Bill Splits

Most modern e-wallet payment solutions incorporate this feature as it improves the user retention and payments to a higher level. Your customers will love this feature as they won’t have to use any third-party bill split application when they could do it via their bank.

Wrapping Up

Time has passed when the differentiation criteria for banks were limited to interest rates and reliability. In this modern tech-savvy world, banks are supposed to make their customer’s lives easier.

With this recent trend and the pandemic, it has become crucial for banks to improve their digital banking infrastructure and start providing banking services via mobile applications. The cost of developing a banking mobile app cannot be calculated without knowing the exact requirements as there are a lot of features that can be integrated into the app.

We at Nimble AppGenie, are experts in developing fintech mobile applications and can help you with your digital banking infrastructure by providing you with the feature-loaded mobile banking app. Contact us now to get a quote.