The majority of people still ‘bank’ in an old-school traditional way with often visits to the departments, cumbersome or expensive P2P money transfers, and the unmistakable fragrance of bureaucracy. Though there is still some style to traditional banking due to its exquisite institutional posturing, old buildings with classical tang, and ages-long history of intricate financial manipulations, the views and desires of people shift towards the magnetic convenience of mobile-only banking apps. And for a reason: mobile banking is intuitive, user-friendly, and doesn’t require you to spend time trying to figure out ‘How? Why? When should I do this or that’ No wonder, the number of people who want to shift towards digital banking is growing so fast. In the UK alone, “Mobile banking is set to be more popular than visiting a high street bank branch within two years.” So, now — is just the right time to enter the fintech market with your own mobile-only banking app and help to shove traditional banking a little further down into the obscurity.
From this article, you will learn about mobile-only banks, their functionality, pros and cons, the process of digital bank development, associated security concerns, and bright examples of successful digital banks.
What is a Mobile-Only Digital Bank?
No need for elaborate explanations — the name speaks for itself. Mobile-only banking is banking for which a user requires only a smartphone with the installed app. All operations, transactions, monitoring, and other user interactions are performed via the app. Basically, a mobile-only digital bank is a bank at your fingertips. Banking cards are still present though, so users can withdraw cash using ATMs.
Mobile-only banking apps strive to emulate real banking experience, but make the latter as convenient and fast as possible. However, different apps may introduce different features and pleasant bonuses that set them apart from the competition. Digital banks come in great variety and there is pretty much no a one-size-fits-all mobile-only bank solution that will satisfy all users. The variety of options means that customers can choose a digital bank they think is the best for them. It also means that there is always free space for digital bank contenders who aren’t afraid to try something new.
Here are the things you need to consider before starting your mobile-only bank.
Pros and Cons of Mobile-Only Banks
So, mobile banks are great and convenient, but to which extent exactly? What are advantages and disadvantages of using digital banks?
Omitting the obvious benefits of convenience, 24/7 access, and minimization of bureaucracy, mobile-only banks have the following pros:
1. Easy to set up and start using
It’s criminally easy to become a user of a digital bank and start indulging in its convenience in comparison to traditional banking. For example, with the majority of digital banks, it is as easy as downloading the app, registering, verifying your identity, connecting a money account, and starting using the app even before you’ve ordered a physical card. Ordering a physical card is also easy as one-two-three, after which, it will arrive to you as soon as possible.
2. Fewer and lower fees
Digital banking does not have to deal with the humongous bureaucratic machinery, which means lower overhead costs. The latter allows digital banks to implement fewer and lower fees because they don’t need as much income sources.
3. Smooth user experience
Mobile banking is extremely user-centric. The apps are created to make a customer feel like a king of his or her own little financial kingdom with 24/7 customer support, a variety of banking operations that are a few finger taps away, intuitive user flows, impeccable user interface, and appealing design. If a good digital bank can’t make a user feel happy and special, then pretty much any financial service provider can’t as well.
And the cons of the mobile-only banks are
1. Security concerns
The overall convenience and immediacy of digital banking have its downside — security. As far as all operations are performed via the Internet, a digital banking app should have bulletproof and foolproof security, so a user can trust the app every time he or she presses a button ‘send‘ or ‘submit.’ Nonetheless, the silent voice at the back of a user’s head that reminds them about the vulnerability of the personal data and money may never go away. However, as the software evolves and people change their views, this issue slowly diminishes.
2. No Digital Banks’ ATMs
Mobile-only banks don’t have their ATMs, and have to rely on partnerships with other banks. However, the latter is not always there. Therefore, sometimes the only choice is to withdraw cash using an ATM that charges significant fees.
3. No human-to-human interaction
The absence of the possibility to come to a bank and talk to a real consultant or a teller may result in the lack of flexibility regarding services and transactions. And, hey, live interaction with another human being may be a pleasant experience, even if it's a completely formal event. Especially now, in the era of social media.
Features of Mobile-Only Banks
A well-rounded mobile bank should have the following core functionality:
First and foremost, a mobile-only bank acts like a digital wallet and a bank account, which helps to store a customer’s money, monitor the balance, transfer money to other users quickly, make deposits, pay for stuff online and in stores. On top of that, the mobile-only bank may provide small loans, set overdraft limits.
Multi-factor authentication, end-to-end encryption, secure back-end architecture, foolproof UX, and best coding practices that help to avoid weaknesses in the software’s construction should make the mobile-only banking app a digital fortress. Security should be a first concern while developing an app, and the last concern, basically an alpha and omega of mobile-only banking app development.
Engaging User experience
Unlike traditional banks, their mobile counterparts should be fun to interact with. Customizable user experience, timely notifications, gamification with achievements, and flawless UX will help you to achieve this goal.
24/7 Customer Support
If it’s a digital bank, be ready for customers to have many issues they want to resolve ASAP. You need to have a proficient and, what is more important — stoic — customer support in place that will be able to handle the surge of worried customers with ease, so the credit of trust the users have to your app lasts.
Digital-Only Banking Security
Digital-only banking security is a pain in a well-known place. However, if you prepared and have a well-prepared tech team, a secured app is simply a matter of time and investments. We wrote a tight article on security in fintech, the basic principles are the same.
- Develop reliable system architecture
- Write reliable code with reliable project logic.
- Conduct thorough quality assurance (QA) phase
- Add multi-factor authentication
- Use end-to-end encryption
- Use secured web access
- Implement real-time notifications and alerts
- Encourage safety practices among the customers
In case you build a mobile-only banking app, you should consider all the regulations. If the app complies with them, it means that a lot of possible vulnerabilities are already covered. Also, don’t forget about GDPR, Open Banking initiative, and other country-specific requirements and regulatory institutions. For example, the UK has FCA (financial conduct authority).
Examples of Digital Banks
If you are to create a digital-only banking app, you better acquaint yourself with some bright examples of successful neobanks (yes it’s another fancy word for a digital bank).
Monzo is a UK-based mobile-only digital bank that wins customers over with its intuitive interface, variety of features, and appealing visuals. Monzo provides the following functionality: splitting checks with friends, sending money, keeping track of debts, sorting out salaries, fee-free cash withdrawals, and much more. With its direct competitor — Revolut — Monzo reigns supreme in the banking digitalscape of the UK.
N26 is a German neobank that functions in most countries of the EU zone, the US, and Switzerland. It also plans to expand to Brazil. The mobile bank’s key customers are freelancers and self-employed. N26 is a distilled version of the digital-only bank that offers all neobank essentials, but doesn’t go over the top with automatic roundups for savings, IFTTT integration, etc.
ESL Mobile Banking (not a neobank really)
ESL Mobile Banking belongs to ESL Federal Credit Union, which is headquartered in the US, and definitely has the most ‘bank-uese’ name compared to other banks in this short list. ESL is a very strict and formal mobile banking experience form a strict and formal US banking ecosystem. It provides “Access and use of mobile banking to check accounts, transfer money, or manage your personal information.”
Basically, Mobile Banking is simply a mobile addition to the ESL infrastructure and not a neobank, so it shouldn’t be on this list. However, the ESL mobile is a bright example of the traditional banking giant that tries to go digital. ESL Mobile Banking is worth your attention.
If you want to read more about interesting fintech projects, you can go here.
Digital banks are the new black in the fintech. It’s not strange though considering the huge spectrum of benefits and the convenience they grant. The market is still full of untapped opportunities for rookie digital-bank contenders to try their hand in. However, building a mobile-only bank is quite a hustle that requires an experienced tech team.
If you want a mobile-only bank similar to one mentioned above, we can actually help you develop such an app. With plenty of experience developing fintech and mobile applications, KindGeek can ensure that your app will be a fancy and bulletproof piece of tech. And pleasant bonus: we have battle-hardened business analysis expertise, which means we can polish the concept to boost a product’s performance in the market.
Contact us, if you are interested.