The Evolution Of Mobile Banking - Part Two

Evolution of Mobile Banking: Part Two

Thursday, December 11, 2014
Missed Part One? You can find that article right here.


2014 - The Year That Was

So, here at Suncorp Bank, we’ve just celebrated the 1st birthday of our mobile banking app. (Is this the period after which it starts talking, walking, and causing mischief? Here’s hoping not.)

Taking a look at the Infographic below, you'll see we’ve had a very big year; not only did we see great customer uptake of the app, but we were even lucky enough to score a QLD iAward, and an AIMIA nomination for 'best smartphone app in financial services'. Go us!


Mobile Banking Infographic Thumbnail

Click to make BIG.


But awards and kudos aside (which are always nice), the journey of building and growing the app has really been all about creatively mashing up mobile technology to make a simple yet powerful mobile banking experience.


So, in 12 months, what have we learnt?


iOS8 and iPhone 6

So this was a big one. We knew iOS 8 (the latest Apple operating system) was on the horizon, but there was only so much we could do to anticipate the changes it brought. The same went for the new model iPhone: we weren’t  privileged enough to get our hands on new iPhone 6 ahead of time, so whilst we tested the app as much as we could at different screen sizes, we suffered a ton of bugs when the new phones became available for a whole number of reasons.


Lesson: Find any way you can to obtain the latest devices in advance to ensure your app works.


Building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Just for clarity’s sake, releasing an ‘mvp’ version of something – a service, an app – is about getting something functional and effective and hotly desired to market quickly, and then learning and building upon it after that first release. It’s different from, say, toiling away for years on the ‘perfect version of your service or product’, which, after you’re done, could have blown your ‘doing any post-release work on it’ budget, or, worse still, because you’ve taken so long, could have lost its place within your intended market.

When we launched our app, we were building a native version of a mobile website that had been around for 4 years. Naturally, we had done a lot of development on that site, so to build 4 years of web work on 2 native platforms (iOS & Android) in 11 months was a huge ask.

To achieve this, we employed MVP principles, and via customer surveys and analytics, determined the top most important features to go live on day 1. The plan was that after that we build out the remaining features in rapid development ‘sprints’ of around 6 weeks; 6 weeks right from the birth of a great idea, to submitting the update to the App Stores.

When we went live, we had around 60% of the web version’s four-year functionality, but still we underestimated the desirability of some of those features we’d deemed ‘lesser used’, and customers definitely let us know. 


Lesson: If you're building an app from an existing mobile website, pay close attention to your day 1 feature list to ensure super-smooth change and expectation management.


The Power of Automated Testing

This was something that was fairly new to us in digital technology, and certainly in building mobile apps. We pushed to gain around '80% coverage' within our automated testing, which, explained to a naive product owner like me, means the team could test 80% of the app within 30 mins; a task which would typically take 3-4 days if done manually.

Though introducing automated testing took a lot more setup time when we kicked off app development, it effectively allowed us to produce updates to the banking app every 6-8 weeks – still quite unprecedented by most other banks.


Lesson: When there's some freedom in cost and time, always 'scope in' automated testing to your app pipeline to enhance your ongoing app delivery speed.


Android Customers are Happier than iOS Customers

So this is a contentious one. If you look at our app store ratings and reviews, it isn’t hard to notice that the EXACT SAME APP across each platform gets wildly different scores.

I’ll put it out there, iOS users are much less likely to troubleshoot an app or their phone. Android users, however, are more forgiving of the odd bug, but they‘re more demanding that we include emerging technological innovations – things like  NFC - as they tend to use beta & jailbroken phones more that iPhone users.


Lesson: Brace yourself for different levels of 'expectations' from different groups of people using your app.


Eligible Customers Who Still Don’t Use Our App

So when we launched, we saw around 56% of users stick to using our mobile web version of Internet Banking. 6 months ago we had 18% of that userbase still using our mobile website.

With our most recent stats, there are still 14% of  group of people using the old mobile site, 94% of which are iOS and Android users. Why? Well, admittedly we don’t know, but we’re guessing these are people that simply don’t know or see the difference between a website and an app. 


Lesson: Always have a good marketing plan to upsell and educate your users on the benefits of an app if you’re building off an existing website.


What's Next For the Bank App?

Well, we have a full-on program of work already for 2015 that includes improving on our app for iPad, push alerts, ordering / changing PINs and also some top secret features that we’re oh so excited to roll out in the early new year.