The Mobile Revolution: Remote Deposit Capture

The tablet revolution. The post-PC era. The smartphone explosion. No matter what label resonates the most with you personally, the idea is the same: personal computing is changing. People are spending more time with smaller devices, such as tablets and smartphones, and less time on desktops and laptops.

Recent data from Forrester Research, Digital Insight and Bain & Company point to this mobile revolution:

  • Approximately 90 percent of adults own a mobile device, of which smartphones are rapidly approaching half of all mobile devices in the marketplace.
  • Approximately 96 percent of U.S. households have at least one wireless subscription.
  • Roughly over 1/3 of online bankers are actively using their mobile device to engage with their financial institution, and mobile bankers are accessing their financial information 59 percent more often than non-mobile online bankers.
  • Roughly three-quarters of branch interactions are routine (deposits, withdrawals and account balance inquiries), driving up costs and diverting resources from more important interactions.

The new online and mobile lifestyle requires digital banking as a new way of delivering a connected lifestyle.  Customers would like to bank anytime, anywhere and on any device. Giving your customers the ability to deposit checks anytime and anywhere using a mobile banking app is the next revolution in that connected state.

I recently had the opportunity to analyze the behavior of customers who utilized mobile remote deposit, which was offered by a financial institution who uses Digital Insight for their online and mobile banking platforms. The analysis solely focused on customers who had an open checking account and made at least one deposit into the financial institution in each month of the analyzed time period.

Although the financial institution was less than six months into the product lifecycle, the results were extremely encouraging:

  • Does mobile remote deposit cause customers to frequent the branch/ATM less for their deposit needs?

Digital Insight research indicates the answer is YES. Mobile remote deposit is changing consumer behavior and transferring more of those routine, costly “human” touch points to a less costly channel. Customers which ultimately used mobile remote deposit were using the branch for 29 percent of their deposits prior to using mobile remote deposit. Once the consumer starting using the service, their deposit behavior at the branch decreased to 19 percent – mobile remote deposit diverted 10 percent of all deposits away from the branch. Customers who never used mobile remote deposit did not experience a shift in their branch behavior. Usage of the ATM for deposits also declined for mobile remote deposit customers – 9.2 percent in the “before” period vs. 6.5 percent in the “after” period.

With the cost of gasoline over $3.50/gallon in most places, from the consumer perspective, think how much it costs (including time inefficiency) to drive to your local branch and make a deposit. Mobile remote deposit saves consumers money and is a more efficient alternative that savvy customers will demand.

What will this shift in behavior – from in-branch to mobile remote deposit – mean for the brick and mortar business model? In the short-term, it doesn’t appear financial institutions are in a hurry to reduce customer service headcount or slow the pace of new branch openings. The digital banking channel has created a more efficient operation; however, should not be viewed as an alternative channel. Rather, digital banking is moving towards more of an extension of the branch and with the reduction of “routine” transactions, in-branch representatives can invest more of their time cross-selling products rather than depositing a check.

  • Does mobile remote deposit cause customers to increase their deposit activity?

Study results from Digital Insight indicate the answer is YES. Customers who used mobile remote deposit increased their monthly number of deposits by two percent, while those customers who didn’t use the service actually experienced a decline in their number of monthly deposits by three percent. Did the customer using mobile remote deposit magically begin receiving more checks once they started using the service? Likely not, but rather, instead of depositing a check into another financial institution, (perhaps for a savings or retirement account) they now deposited these funds into the financial institution which offered mobile remote deposit, which means the financial institution has further positioned themselves as the customers’ preferred financial institution.

  • Does mobile remote deposit lead to higher consumer acquisition and/or lower consumer attrition?

To be determined. When I measured the results of mobile remote deposit, the financial institution was less than six months into the product offering with its customers The hypothesis is that mobile remote deposit will strengthen the consumer relationship and thus extend the consumer lifecycle. Additionally, now that the financial institution is offering this value-added service, the belief is that this product will attract new customers to the financial institution and win business from the competition. This could be especially true for the Gen Y and Gen X segments. The comment “attracting a younger demographic” is posed as a strategic initiative in my conversations with financial institutions. Over 75 percent of mobile bankers are Gen X and Gen Y, so these demographics will be the most likely to utilize mobile remote deposit.

The customers most likely to adopt the mobile remote deposit feature are cost‐effective bankers. They monitor their finances through the Web or their mobile phone at a higher propensity than all other customers, which lowers operational costs for the financial institution. In short, customers who desire mobile remote deposit utilize technology that is beneficial for the financial institution and the consumer.

About Jason Weinick: Jason is a Senior Analyst with Digital Insight and leads the initiative on client profitability analyses, providing banks and credit unions a valuable in-depth look into the value of the online channel. Jason’s background includes 15 years experience within the financial services sector, focusing on consumer behavior, risk modeling, reporting, and financial analysis. Jason holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Clemson University.

Sources: Forrester Research, May 2011; Digital Insight Profitability Study, April 2012; Bain & Company Customer Loyalty in Retail Banking Americas, 2011

 

The Impact of Baby Boomers & Seniors on Online Banking

There is a presumption which exists in the world of online banking that baby boomers and seniors do not use their computer and/or mobile device to interact with their financial institution. We’ve all heard the reasons why – security, lack of internet access, or they prefer to bank the way they’ve always banked. However, as a Gen Xer and someone who works in the banking industry, I’ve seen that boomers and seniors do use online banking, and they could fuel the next growth wave within digital banking.

Over the last three years, I have performed portfolio analytics across dozens of Intuit Financial Services’ clients encompassing 2.8 million checking account holders.* These deep dive studies have provided me with insights into the banking behavior of consumers. While baby boomers and seniors have not quite reached the level of adoption rates of online banking as Gen Y/X, it’s hard to ignore their adoption growth over the last several years. Additionally, once baby boomers and seniors become active users of online banking, their engagement within the channel rivals Gen Y/X. Baby boomers and seniors, ages 49-68 and over 68 respectively, account for 46 percent of all open checking account holders.

* See chart below for breakdown by generation and comparison of bank vs credit union.

Across the 2.8 million checking account holder segment I have analyzed, 55 percent of Gen Y (0-28 in age) consumers actively use online banking. This rate is 57 percent for Gen X (29-48); 46% for baby boomers; 27% for Seniors. Those stats probably don’t surprise anyone, but what if I were to say that both baby boomers and seniors demonstrate a higher active use rate for bill payment than GenX and GenY? Granted, Gen Y includes a portion of consumers who (enjoy it while you can) haven’t reached the point in their financial lifecycle to have payment obligations, but it’s probably safe to say that most Gen Xers have monthly obligations. 35 percent of online banking boomers utilize bill payment, compared to 33 percent for seniors and 32 percent for Gen X. Granted, the variance here is very tight across these 3 generations, but the point I’m making here is that boomers and seniors utilize the services within the online channel once they feel comfortable with using online banking. And it’s not just bill payment – Personal Financial Management tools, internal funds transfer, eStatements – boomers and seniors have shown an appetite for these services, and as we know, the more engaged a consumer is within a channel, the less likely they are to leave the financial institution.

According to a study by Market Insights Professionals, “Boomers…are not far behind in embracing the Internet for their shopping needs–two out of three Boomers have researched a product or service online in the past three months, and more than seven out of 10 have made an online purchase during the same time frame. Boomers are the generations with the highest online spending levels.”[i]

What is also interesting within the data I’ve analyzed is the trend over time related to the active use curve of online banking. The traditional product curve for online banking reveals early adopters are younger demographics who embrace technology, have grown up with a computer and internet access, and value anywhere/anytime convenience. Pew Research found that “While the youngest generations are still significantly more likely to use social network sites, the fastest growth has come from internet users 74 and older: social network site usage for this oldest cohort has quadrupled since 2008, from 4% to 16%”[ii]. Technology services such as email, Skype, eBay have become increasingly popular with boomers and seniors, and as their comfort level with technology grows, so too does their adoption rates of online banking. The table below illustrates the online banking behavior of the same checking account holders over a two year period. The annual growth rate of seniors actively using online banking is outperforming all other generations, followed by Gen Y, Boomers, and Gen X. The additional growth in Gen Y is believed to have been fueled by mobile banking.

I know what you’re thinking – because seniors started at such a low adoption rate there was more room for them to grow. That is true, but their rate of growth still exceeded other generations, in part because technology is becoming more commonplace in their household and financial institutions have vastly publicized the security and convenience of online banking. “Older generations become more active as their experience with a new channel increases. Our research shows that as tenure with a digital channel increases, so, too, does a user’s willingness to conduct more complex interactions through that channel — such as selling a security through a mobile phone.”[iii]

While the saturation point of online banking for Gen Y and X might be near, boomers and seniors not only represent the majority of the US population, but their acceptance of online banking continues to grow at a rapid rate. Financial institutions and providers of online banking services must be aware of consumer demographics and perhaps go so far as to customize online banking for those demographics. Whether it’s the font size on the computer screen, products/services presented to the consumer, or changes to secure login credentials, demographics should not be ignored when considering growth in the online banking channel. Do not grow complacent in pursuing this older market. As you can see, there is much opportunity and benefit to attract the older generation. It is observed, that once the baby boomers and seniors gain confidence in the online channel, they will begin to cultivate additional online services, which presents another chance to cross-sell this generation.

About Jason Weinick: Jason is a Senior Analyst with Intuit Financial Services and leads the initiative on client profitability analyses, providing banks and credit unions a valuable in-depth look into the value of the online channel. Jason’s background includes 15 years experience within the financial services sector, focusing on consumer behavior, risk modeling, reporting, and financial analysis. Jason holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Clemson University.


[i] November 2, 2011: The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2011, US, by Gina Sverdlov, for Market Insights Professionals

[iii] June 8, 2011: Mobile And Social Technologies Come Late To Wealth Management: Younger Generations Are Just The First Wave Of Mobile and Social Adopters- by Bill Doyle with Benjamin Ensor, Amelia Martland, and Beth Hoffman