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Why you need a strategic plan for developing tablet use

Customers increasingly expect to interact digitally outside of computers

Why you need a strategic plan for developing tablet use

In the span of only a couple of years, tablet banking has gone from being a relatively untapped and ambiguously categorized digital channel to a solid component of any bank’s suite of digital offerings. Banks must make sure their strategic direction for digital channels is properly aligned to capture the behavioral evolution and client demand, says Celent in a new report.

“Consumers are growing more accustomed to interacting with their financial institution through devices other than PCs,” says Jacob Jegher, research director with Celent’s Banking Group and coauthor of the report. “Tablet banking represents a tremendous opportunity. However, banks aren’t exactly scrambling to release tablet-specific apps.”

“Tablets are unique devices with distinct capabilities and form factors,” adds Stephen Greer, analyst with Celent’s Banking Group and coauthor of the report. “Tablet touch screens are highly interactive, lending themselves well to rich user interfaces that feature customizable widgets, visual representations such as graphs and charts, and videos.”

This report is the first in a series on the state of tablet applications at the top financial institutions in the United States.

Tablet sales are growing at a tremendous rate, and financial institutions can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch as the landscape develops around them, Celent says. However, tablet banking is expected to be a relatively slow mover, especially as banks continue to grapple with the rapid adoption of smartphones.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Digital channels are no longer alternative channels; they are fundamental, mainstream channels. These channels represent an opportunity and a burden for banks because they must evolve rapidly to meet client needs. Tablet growth and usage are a key part of this opportunity.
  • Several features are under discussion but haven't been widely adopted. They include:

1) A comprehensive dashboard.

2) Social media.

3) Personal financial management tools.

4) Financial education and literacy tools.

5) Easy account balance.

6) Remote mobile bill pay.

7) Enhanced authentication and security (e.g., biometric authentication).

  • Surveys conducted by Celent have consistently shown that large banks tend to out-adopt smaller institutions by a significant margin, and conversations with tier 2 and 3 financial institutions have confirmed the corollary: small banks watch large banks. With that said, there are plenty of software vendors that offer canned tablet applications to their smaller bank clients. The large banks however are going to be the ones to eventually dazzle the market with all-encompassing solutions and a slick user experience.
  • Tablet apps are nascent—most of the top banks are severely underdeveloped when it comes to apps. There is a large difference between what's possible and what's being offered today.

More information

John Ginovsky

John Ginovsky is a contributing editor of ABA Banking Journal and editor of the publication’s TechTopics e-newsletter. For more than two decades he’s written about the commercial banking industry, specializing in its technological side and how it relates to the actual business of banking. In addition to his weekly blogs—"Making Sense of It All"—he contributes fresh, original stories to each TechTopics issue based on personal interviews or exclusive contributed pieces. He previously was senior editor for Community Banker magazine (which merged into ABA Banking Journal) and was managing editor and staff reporter for ABA’s Bankers News. Email him at jginovsky@sbpub.com.

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