The following was provided by Rick Sirois of Sprint as an update for credit unions currently in the Sprint National Credit Union Program. For credit unions that are intersted in joining the Sprint partnership, contact CUcorp Director of Marketing and Sales Lisa Treat at MCUL ext. 523 or Sprint Product Coordinator Angela Hall at ext. 521.
As we look to the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, it’s time for credit unions to both reflect and to look ahead. As credit unions consider future business plans, a mobile banking strategy should be strongly considered.
In 1996, online banking services were embraced by less than 3 percent of the U.S. population. By 2007, that percentage increased to nearly 40 percent. According to Tower Research, the adoption rate for mobile banking may be even faster. In 1996, Internet services were new whereas mobile services in 2008 are largely familiar. The time is now for credit unions to have a plan.
There are three, broad mobile banking solutions to explore: Text Message, Mobile Web, and Application.
Text Message-based solutions lead the way in popularity. Even to those who do not use it often, it’s clear how popular text messaging has become. It is simple, inexpensive and offers the broadest geographic coverage with low bandwidth data available around the world with a high degree of consistency. Robust solutions are just coming to market though, that allow for interaction between the user and a financial institution. When true two-way communication is available, text messaging will be a key component to a mobile banking strategy. It is a good, low entry cost method.
Web browser-based solutions offer a streamlined version of the home banking portal. Effectively, this solution offers the same security and rich experience when tailored to the mobile screen. The limitation presently, is with the number of users who have “smart” phones – that is, phones that are capable of utilizing a Web browser. Right now, the U.S. follows the world market penetration for smart phones at about 15 percent. This limits the offer strictly to this smaller number who utilize phones of this nature.
Application-based solutions are in the market and are receiving significant attention. They have the capability of offering enhanced security and pre-programmed, one-touch commands that allow the user to interact with their account, and are available on a wide variety of mobile devices. The limitation is that each carrier, like Sprint, must certify the application. The added benefit to credit unions is the branding. On the screen, the application appears with a credit union’s unique logo. The cost, however, is higher than the other solutions.
As part of the Sprint National Credit Union Program, Sprint has technical and industry specialists available to help explore all solutions in the market and guide efforts to craft a winning business plan based on best practices. Sprint has experience, knowledge of best practices from deployments and industry data to assist with each of these activities to get you started with your mobile banking strategy.
A credit union’s method for planning and implementing a mobile banking strategy are as follows:
1. Understand what is out there for mobile banking solutions: Text Messaging, Browser and Application based solutions.
2. Understand why solutions are in demand – they tie to different demographics. Map the solution demand to the existing membership base demographic and target membership.
3. Develop a clear value proposition to communicate internally why the credit union is pursuing mobile banking, and what solutions will be used to do so.
4. Create the strategy, then deploy.
5. Measure the success – high adoption and higher service usage means success.
Exploring mobile banking solutions can seem a daunting task. Mobile banking is filled with technology and marketing jargon. The good news is that mobile banking is in an early phase of its adoption cycle, and there are resources to help guide credit unions through the maze of information. For more information on Sprint Mobile Banking programs, contact Rick Sirois at (734) 673-8333 or firstname.lastname@example.org.