The Evolution of Mobile Banking

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Back in late 2007 if someone had told me that a quarter of our customer base would soon be banking on their mobile devices, I would have told them they were mad. That was pretty much the vibe going around internally when a small team of us decided, “Hey, I reckon we could build a mobile version of Internet Banking!”

Flash forward to now - and to paraphrase the now famous findings of data company Unisys - it takes 26 hours for someone on average to report their wallet as stolen to the police. Meanwhile, if it were their mobile phone that had been stolen, reporting that on average would only take 68 minutes.

Oh, how our priorities change.

Mobile Banking, once the quiet kid in the classroom, has grown up to become class president. We’ve seen mobile banking grow from 2,500 customers when we launched in 2008, to the 240,000+ customers who use it now. Roy Morgan recently stated there are now 5 million mobile banking users in Australia - so for a 6 year old channel… that's not bad at all.


So where did it all begin for us?

Well, like I said, Mobile Banking for Suncorp Bank began as a “could we actually do it?” project. We had a small team work on it for about 6 weeks, and then went live in April 2008. Now, keep in mind the iPhone wouldn’t grace our technological or cultural landscape for another 4 months, so we were building exclusively for the trusty Nokia user-base.

Our first mobile banking offering – oh so elegant.


When we first released mobile banking, you could do precious few things, one of which was you could view a whopping 10 recent transactions. Now remember, this was a time when using your phone to surf the web was in its infancy too, an activity reserved basically for the geeks like myself. Getting just 10 transactions was pretty slow but hey, at the time, still faster and easier than going to an ATM. We were onto something.


Bringing in grubby fingers

Then Apple happened. The iPhone launched in July 2008 and literally took the world by storm. We were suddenly faced with the daunting task of completely rethinking all we’d done, having to now ask ourselves: “how the heck do you design mobile banking for something that you touch?” It was a Brave New Design World for us, but we had a crack at it, and upgraded mobile banking for touch in early 2009.


LOVE that lime green. We thought it was a great idea at the time.


Look at me now

Fast-forward to today, and mobile banking certainly isn’t ‘just for the geeks’, and it certainly isn’t still a ‘gamble’ project. Mobile Banking is the most powerful channel we’ve ever delivered and with the sheer pace and change of technology impacting what our phones are capable of, we are building things we couldn’t have ever fathomed in the days of my good old Nokia (though it quietly still wins on the ‘can at least retain its charge for more than a day’ front).


Whether it be digital wallets, contactless payments, peer to peer payments, or simply reminding you when next to pay a bill, it’s no wonder we’d freak out a mere 68 minutes after losing our phones. It's hard to imagine a world in which mobile banking doesn't exist as we now know it. 


Sweet, sweet IOS7.


Where to next?

We’re in the midst of a massive program to optimise and build upon our newly released mobile banking offering. We believe we can make mobile banking even easier and more intuitive still, and have a host of new features in the works that we hope to cover here on Insight soon.