If banks want to add another $1.5 billion to their collective
bottom line, they should work on promoting mobile banking
opportunities and, in particular, mobile deposits.
That's according to a July report from Javelin Strategy &
Research, which found that banks could see significant savings if
they did more to leverage mobile banking. The report notes that not
only do mobile transactions cost less to process, but that mobile
customers tend to be younger and more affluent -- two traits that
make them desirable targets for banks.
Mobile deposits can save nearly $50 per customer
Javelin's findings focus on the savings potential of mobile
deposits. While the average cost of a mobile deposit is 10 cents,
it costs $4.25 to process that deposit through an in-branch
"By switching just one mobile banker's in-person deposit to
mobile per month, the average institution saves almost $50 per
annum per mobile banking customer, adding up to $1.5 billion in
cost savings for the industry," said Mary Monahan, research
director of mobile at Javelin Strategy & Research, in a written
However, customers don't seem in any hurry to begin depositing
checks with their smartphones. Although mobile banking has become a
more popular banking option, mobile deposits are made by
only a small percentage
From 2010 to 2013, the percentage of customers regularly using
mobile banking each month rose from 15 percent to 25 percent.
However, Javelin found only 6 percent of these users say mobile
banking is their first choice for making deposits. Instead,
in-branch transactions remain the most popular option for deposits,
with 40 percent of mobile users saying it is their preferred way to
fund their accounts.
Better banking apps might help
To convince customers to make mobile deposits, banks may want to
look at improvements to their banking apps. When mobile developer
Xtreme Labs did an analysis of the
best and worst banking apps
in July, it found two of the most common issues cited by consumers
were lack of a deposit function or a low deposit limit.
Of the 53 banks whose apps were reviewed, consumers complained
about deposit functionality for the iOS apps of 21 banks. Among
Android apps, 13 banks were cited by customers for having no or
poor deposit features. Making mobile deposit functionality easy to
find and use and lifting restrictions on deposit amounts could be
two ways to increase the number of customers electing to add funds
via their phone rather than heading to a branch.
But no matter how they achieve it, advances in mobile banking
may present opportunities for banks and customers alike. Moreover,
banks who dismiss mobile banking may be putting their future
profits in jeopardy.