No one can run a business solely from the confines of an office. Whether it’s making sales calls from the road, spending time with a client on the golf course, or visiting with investors in another city, running a business requires the flexibility of mobile computing.
This is especially true for financial and banking needs. Cutting checks to vendors, monitoring payroll, or handling cash management often require immediate attention, regardless of where the business staff is working at any given moment.
For retail customers, mobile banking has become second nature. Multiple studies show that more than half of retail banking customers utilize a mobile banking app each month, at a minimum, to complete basic tasks. And savvy mobile users know that they can complete everything from depositing a check, moving money from various accounts ,and mitigating fraud via smartphone or tablet at any time.
Many of those savvy consumers also run businesses, and want the same quality of service.
State of the art for small firms
A bank’s small business owners must have access to the same types of functions to compete in our 24/7 online economy. Banks that deliver a comprehensive, feature-rich mobile banking app to their business customers provide them a competitive edge and the flexibility to conduct banking activities with the same freedom as retail customers.
By offering an integrated business banking app, banks enhance the customer experience by giving company owners the freedom to decide how they want to do business. Providing this level of service also opens the possibility of acquiring new corporate customers.
So, what separates a business-focused mobile banking app from the retail-oriented apps used by consumers?
There are four key factors banks should offer:
1. Traditional mobile functionality—While running a business requires many more functions for banking than those offered to a consumer, business owners still need to have the basic functions that are typically seen in retail mobile banking apps.
These offerings include account reviews, money movement, card controls, statement access, remote deposit capture, and transaction alert management. While standard for any retail mobile app, these tools also enable commercial customers to operate freely without worrying about typical banking hours.
While these are not the main features business owners require, it remains important to provide them basic banking capabilities to ensure they have all the tools needed to run day-to-day operations.
2. Business-specific functionality—Moving beyond the traditional retail mobile banking features, a strong business mobile app will have a few specific tools. Banks should offer mobile features such as ACH origination, sub-user management, and cash management reporting.
This allows business owners to quickly and easily monitor and manage the business’ cash flow, as well as get a complete overview of the company’s financial standing.
3. Security—Banks must also address a business’ security concerns surrounding mobile banking. The more devices a company uses to manage finances, and the more personnel it has who can access the firm’s banking services, the greater the need for a strong security component in the mobile app. From the company’s private information to its customers’ personal data, business executives need to know that their mobile banking app has the security protections needed to thwart cybercrime.
Banks rolling out a business banking app should ensure that it includes protections such as out-of-band authentication, token authentication, and fraud anomaly detection. With these features, business executives are capable of verifying their identity to access private information, keeping transactions protected with tokenization and mitigating any potential threat of fraud to keep their business secure.
4. Integration with all banking channels—Just as consumers expect a consistent experience wherever they interact with their bank, business owners demand the same.
Business users will be frustrated or confused if a bank delivers a different user experience—or unsynchronized account data—between a mobile app, an online banking portal, or the teller account screen. This poses the risk of their abandoning the mobile app—or, worse, moving their banking needs to a competitor.
A business-focused mobile banking app should provide a consistent look and feel with all other channels so customers can seamlessly move from one contact point to another.
On the back end, something that can greatly improve the bank’s management of its mobile app if running everything from a single source code. This enables the bank to create enhancements once, implement them across all platforms, and release them to all corporate customers simultaneously.
With these four elements, a bank’s commercial account holder is not tethered to a desk. Rather, they can take their business anywhere, with ease, consistency, and confidence.
About the author
Jonathan Ferguson is the Business Banking Product Manager for CSI.