Hackernoon logoOnline Banking Apps: Extra Features Banks Need to Stay Competitive by@arkadii-kvashyk

Online Banking Apps: Extra Features Banks Need to Stay Competitive

Arkadii Kvashyk Hacker Noon profile picture

@arkadii-kvashykArkadii Kvashyk

Online banking is on a steady path to success, surpassing traditional financial institutions in reliability, convenience, and transaction speed. Still, with more financial services software companies joining the race, users become increasingly picky and difficult to impress. To keep that competitive edge, the service has to offer features that are both desirable and original. This article is an overview of the most feasible directions to explore.

Fintech Software Development: A Lucrative Segment

In a sense, online banking is the most promising segment in the domain broadly referred to as IT. On the one hand, it meets the rising demand for personalized, self-service oriented products that moves the digital revolution forward. On the other hand, it has the backing of major players in the financial sector.

According to the latest estimates, the mobile banking market, valued at $715 million in 2018, may exceed $1.8 billion by 2026.

Online banking is also steadily growing in popularity among millennials, 97% of whom use mobile banking services – a familiar trend in the digital era.

The market is already responding to the demand, with major players in the industry rolling out their own mobile apps. In the U.S. alone, the list of top banks with their own online services looks like this:

  • Bank of America
  • Wells Fargo
  • NFCU
  • USAA
  • Citibank

At the same time, many new financial services software companies try to gain a competitive advantage by offering extra features, quality-of-life improvements, or exceptional customer support. Simply put, the trust of consumers is won through reputation, user experience, or, in some cases, a combination of both.

Benefits of Online Banking

Online banking can offer a number of advantages to its customers compared to traditional institutions. In a survey by BI Intelligence, the four most common reasons for using online services were:

  1. Better control over finances
  2. Convenient bill payment
  3. Higher savings
  4. Fewer overdrafts

The results of this can already be observed in finance apps’ usage stats from Google: nearly three-quarters of smartphone users manage their finances via an app while two-thirds entrust their preferences to digital products to make operations easier. On top of that, half of those who stop using the services do so in favor of better alternatives. To sum it up, online banking is winning the sympathy of the audience, so gaining a competitive advantage in the field is a viable move from a strategic perspective.

Online Banking Service: Ultimate Feature List

While the field of banking software development is still far from maturity, there is already a list of features that are considered commonplace:

  • Full control over finances
  • P2P money transfers
  • Balance viewing
  • Managing debit and credit cards
  • Ledger and archive of operations

While none of these will give your service an edge over competitors, their absence will probably cost you a significant proportion of the clientele. To gain a competitive advantage, financial services software companies need to go one step further and exceed the expectations of users. Below are some of the definitive features banks could consider.

Multiple Login Options

Security is among the most relevant concerns in the field of fintech software development – for obvious reasons. Over the years, multiple ways have emerged to harden the security of sensitive data. Unfortunately, most of them achieve it at the cost of convenience by introducing multiple verifications or lengthy password inputs.

Understandably, these procedures don’t really play in the app’s favor when the customer tries to simply check in and see the balance. Fortunately, modern devices are equipped with biometric sensors. Using them for logging into the service combines convenience with safety. Alternatively, the application can have a separate login screen for mobile devices, which does streamline things a bit but requires a properly configured device, which can be a solid trade-off.

Robust Bill Payment System

Bill payments are perhaps among the most popular transactions online banking is used for. On the surface, this feature is relatively straightforward. However, to provide excellent user experience, it has to have a number of quality-of-life improvements like scheduling to specific dates or selecting the frequency of regular transactions, not to mention ensuring solid security.

The latter is particularly challenging for clients with diverse audiences that work with multiple currencies. Delivering on the expectations is only possible for teams that work closely with the client’s business on all stages of the product’s life cycle, from conceptualization to support. Such a holistic approach results in a bill payment system that is robust, secure, and scalable.

Activity Tracking

Financial transactions are the primary purpose of online banking services but certainly not the extent of its value for customers. Another interesting direction to explore is spending behaviors. Equipping your banking service with even the most basic analytical tools will give users interesting insights into their habits while at the same time help them optimize their budget. There are many ways to achieve this:

  1. Configurable reports
  2. Spending trackers
  3. Saving goals
  4. Expenses scheduling
  5. Notifications and reminders

Having these features in the app or a web service will not only improve its functionality but will lend users additional control over their actions, fostering their trust.

Location Awareness

Another feature with tremendous potential that remains underused by banking services. Granted, online banking is expected to work from anywhere with the connection – yet it does not mean that the user’s location does not matter. At the very least, it can help customers find the nearest ATM without having to input their address manually. Some banking software companies get even more creative and use location awareness to streamline shared payments by locating people in the proximity of the payer. Contemporary audiences are increasingly sensitive to tedious operations, so getting the app out of the user’s way may be a matter of rising to the top tier in the field.

Smart Support

Financial institutions still have the reputation of being notoriously confusing. The main reason for this is scope – when the user base grows on a global scale, it is nearly impossible for the support department to keep up. Fortunately, modern AI-powered technology allows for smart customer service solutions that combine service excellence with efficiency and scalability. Integrating these with the service’s knowledge base creates a truly smart service that is both reliable and customizable to meet the needs of the pickiest customers.

Closing Thoughts

Online banking has already proven its superiority over traditional financial services and can already be considered a new de-facto standard in the field. However, for financial services software companies, such a shift creates a highly challenging environment. To stay ahead of the competition, showering uses with features is not enough, so start with understanding your customers’ needs and build from there, adding a dash of creativity in the process.


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