How SMS Systems Facilitate the Adoption of Mobile Banking Apps

With digital transformation in full swing across the banking sector, mobile banking is seen as one of the major developments in the new age of banking services. In the last 5 years, banks invested considerable resources in building and launching mobile banking apps, and making financial services available anytime, anywhere with an internet connection.

Organizational alignment for the mobile era was considerable. Banks introduced new technologies, implemented high security standards, and brought in people with specialized skills to operate the mobile-first approach, which seems to have a bright future. Mobile applications allow for an addition of voice and video chat features, client care options layered on top of them, location and preference-based services, augmented reality – all aiming to appeal to mobile-oriented consumers and secure their loyalty in years to come.

Yet, the adoption of mobile banking apps can still be challenging. Unlike most apps, which take seconds to install and are usually instantly ready for use, banking apps require additional identification and activation, to make sure security is not compromised in the process. Extra steps might complicate the activation process, and keep some of the clients from becoming active users. In fact – banks are constantly struggling to cover all security aspects while keeping app activation seamless.

In spite of that, some clients still perceive mobile banking as complicated to start using, which causes them to delay service activation. This is a reason for concern, in light of the fact that many mobile banking features can only be successful if significant numbers of clients are on board.

In recent years, many banks have responded to this challenge with professional SMS platforms. They’ve launched an optimized flow in which app download links and app activation keys are delivered to customers in SMS messages, to facilitate the adoption and activation of mobile banking services.

Scenario 1: App activation in the bank branch

Some banks send out SMS messages with app download links through CRM or any other front office application. This happens while the client is in the branch office, and after they’ve been identified as potential mobile banking users, based on current product preferences, age, possession of smartphone etc.

In this type of scenario, SMS message is sent out in only a few clicks by the bank teller. It contains a link for app download, but it also instantly validates the mobile phone number. This is particularly important for the second step – delivery of app activation credentials.

Typically, one of these credentials can be given to the client by the teller, while the other is distributed in an SMS message, sent to a previously validated phone number. To activate the app, the user needs to type credentials into the app, which is usually a one-time procedure.

This way the bank keeps a high level of control over the download and activation process, making sure the client has actually installed the mobile app, and that the m-banking service is properly activated. On the other hand, credentials are distributed by two separate channels. The client is at the center of the process, with full control of their personal credentials, and the entire process – from start to finish – has the client using mobile banking within minutes.

This type of solution covers two segments of prospective user types: those unwilling to start using mobile banking, and those who recognize the potential, but are put off by the perceived complexity of the activation process, which keep them from going through all the necessary steps in service activation.

Scenario 2: App activation on Internet banking or ATM

In other scenarios, the client chooses to activate mobile banking while using Internet banking or an ATM. After typing in their mobile phone number, the initial SMS with the download link is sent, one credential is displayed on the Internet banking page or ATM display, while the other is again securely distributed via a separate, personalized SMS channel. With this type of solution, both security and ease of use requirements have been reconciled.

Jun 24th, 2016
3 min read