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[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Smartphones are part of our daily life. A recent IDC report estimates that 49% of the entire U.S. population use a smartphone. By 2017, that number is expected to reach 68%. Of people who actively use their smartphones daily, 62% say they reach for their phone immediately after waking. In fact, one in four smartphone owners can’t even recall a single time of day when their phone isn’t in the same room as them.

Mobile apps make up the core of smartphone use. 84% of a person’s time using a smartphone involves communicating by email, text message, or social networks. Only 16% of the time involves actual voice calls.

This heavy and increasing reliance on smartphones and mobile apps is raising expectations for banks and credit unions trying to capture and retain customers and members in a competitive market. While the number of credit unions that offer mobile apps is rising, many do not yet make them an integral part of their member acquisition and retention strategy.

This is a mistake that can open up significant risk to credit unions. A recent CFI Group study found that 12% of credit union members may consider leaving their credit union if it does not offer a mobile app. Creating an attractive, useful and convenient mobile app for members can reduce the risk of member churn.

Below are four tips for successfully developing and marketing a credit union mobile app based on the results of our annual credit union study.

1. Emphasize Security

Security should be an obvious design element and marketing promotion message for your app. Mobile app security has recently received significant news coverage, such as SIM card cloning and Trojan horse-like viruses that capture international equipment identity numbers (IMEI) from account holders. It is no wonder that of those who do not currently use their credit union’s mobile app, one third (39%) said the primary reason was being uncomfortable with the security. Developers are well aware of the technical specifications and requirements for making mobile apps secure. The challenge for the credit union is convincing its members that its mobile app is secure and promoting the security of the app as a primary feature.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”8383″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

2. Design for Smartphones

The mobile app environment gets complex when accounting for device type (e.g., smartphone, tablet, hybrid), operating system (e.g., IOS, Android, Windows), screen resolutions and rotations (e.g. 2014×1536, 1024×768, 1136×640). Most mobile banking app users (72%) use the app with their smartphone exclusively. A further 16% use both tablets and smartphone to access their app. While a mobile apps must work across the span of devices, operating systems, and screen dimensions, developers should optimize the app experience for the smartphone. When designed well, the mobile app can enhance the overall member banking experience. In our study, members who have used their mobile app within the past three months are more satisfied with their credit union overall than are members of credit unions that don’t offer a mobile app.

3. Do the Core Transactions Well

Banking capabilities on a mobile app are quickly growing, with a number of recent innovations that make banking from a smartphone mobile app a great experience. Some mobile apps incorporate location-aware technology or integration with social media. However, credit unions need to remember that the vast majority of members are simply looking to perform certain core transactions (e.g. check balances, make deposits, transfer funds), with most members (86%) simply wanting to check account balances and/or transfer funds between accounts. When considering where to improve on a mobile app, don’t lose sight of first creating an exceptional experience around the ease of completing these most basic transactions performed by your members.

4. Determine Your Development Cadence

User expectations change quickly. Members will expect an app to grow related to performance, up-time, and capabilities soon after development. Of all mobile app users in our study, two thirds (65%) have been using mobile apps for a year or less (new users) and conduct 35% of their banking through the app. Those who have used mobile apps for more than a year (seasoned users) conduct 44% of their banking business through the app. Credit unions must be ready to deliver on increasing app performance.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”8384″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]The good news is that these improvements have clear returns. Mobile app users are relatively self-sufficient and much less demanding of assistance from credit union personnel. Over the past three months, 82% of new users visited a credit union branch, which is significantly more than the 64% of seasoned users. Contact centers will also see additional cost savings. Of new users, 47% spoke to a live rep over the past three months compared to only 40% for seasoned users. And best of all, this increased engagement leads to less member churn.

When done well, an easy-to-use, convenient and comprehensive credit union mobile app can boost member satisfaction and retention while simultaneously lowering branch and contact center operational costs.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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