Though the iPad didn’t even exist as recently as 2009, tablets are already making a major impact on all kinds of businesses.
The growth of tablets since the iPad’s inception has been dramatic. More than a third (34 percent) of American adults now own a tablet device of some kind, according to the Pew Research Center.
Brookfield-based Fiserv Inc., a global provider of financial services technology solutions, has taken note of this trend, recently launching Mobiliti: Tablet, its first mobile banking application for tablet users.
Fiserv has been researching this trend for a couple years now, said Steve Shaw, vice president of strategic marketing for digital channels and electronic payments. This research has shown a rapid change in the market for tablet devices.
“It’s been dramatic,” said Shaw. “There’s research that shows that over 50 percent of adults will have a tablet and use it to manage finances by 2015. Tablets are outselling PCs now. The consumer adoption and awareness of what a tablet can do for your digital lifestyle is huge, and it’s had a dramatic impact on the banking industry, as well.”
Online banking has grown substantially in recent years. According to Pew Research, more than half of American adults now bank online, and 35 percent of cell phone users use mobile banking.
But people conduct their online banking in different ways, said Shaw, and Fiserv’s in depth research (see infographic) details how this is the case.
“One analogy that we talk about is that mobile is what you do when you snack – 30-second bite, on the go,” he said. “Online banking is like when you’re sitting down for lunch and the waiter presents you with the menu. And with the branch, that’s more like fine dining, where you sit down with your advisor.”
Tablet banking, too, is its own unique experience.
“It’s not online banking, it’s not mobile banking,” said Shaw. “We view (tablet banking) as one distinct channel.”
The goal for Fiserv was to build their app in a way that is specific to the unique nature of tablet banking.
“We wanted to ensure that we did it in a way that matched consumer expectations,” said Shaw. “We did extensive research and we found that consumers interact differently with tablets than with other (platforms).”
This mentality inspired the capabilities of how the app works and how users can interact with it.
“What we’ve tried to do is deliver a unique experience for consumers so they can leverage the power and characteristics of a tablet app to manage finances,” said Shaw. “Anything that you can do in a typical online banking session is there. It’s just presented in a unique way.”
While the information and functionality of the app isn’t much different from online banking or mobile banking, the difference is in the way that the information is presented to the user.
“With some banks today, you can get to online banking via tablet, but it’s optimized for a web browser,” said Shaw. “It can be a bit more frustrating. If it’s a tablet app that’s native to a tablet, the font is bigger, the transactions are clearer, etc., so it delivers a better experience.”
Fiserv first worked with some larger banks, including U.S. Bank, on building a tablet app last year. That app, customized specifically to meet U.S. Bank’s needs, was used as a pilot version of the tablet app, said Shaw.
Fiserv then took the lessons learned from building that app to morph it into a package that more financial institutions would be able to use. As of now, more than 100 institutions are signed up for Mobiliti: Tablet in various stages, and three clients – South Carolina-based Founders Federal Credit Union, Massachussets-based UMassFive College Federal Credit Union, and Beloit-based Bank of Beloit – have been publically announced.
The Mobiliti: Tablet app is targeted for a group of clients that includes community banks and credit unions, and a separate app is targeted to larger retail or national banks, said Shaw. Apps for larger banks will allow for customized functionality, while community banks and credit unions will use hosted functionality.
The research Fiserv has put into this development also includes the 2012 Consumer Trends Survey. It’s an annual survey of roughly 5,000 consumers that aims to figure out how consumers are managing their money.
Additional findings from this survey include a number of interesting trends, including:
- Mobile adoption and growth is moving beyond the trendsetting Gen Y (ages 21-32) consumer group.
- Mobile banking usage grew fastest among Gen X consumers, yet they still trail Gen Y consumers for overall usage among the generations.
- The number of mobile banking users increased by 33 percent in 2012, to almost 25 million U.S. households.
- Tablet ownership is soon expected to approach 50 percent of American adults, up from 19 percent in 2011.
- Almost half of tablet owners use their device for online banking access, and Fiserv is anticipating that number to grow quickly.
“Research has shown tablet banking users are more engaged than other mobile banking users, as they use digital channels more frequently and consume a larger number of financial services,” said Bradley Scott, vice president, Mobile Solutions, Fiserv. “With Mobiliti: Tablet, financial institutions can quickly bring tablet banking to market, meeting the needs of existing customers through a lower cost channel, while attracting new customers who find this technology appealing.”
Dan Shafer covers innovation and technology for BizTimes Milwaukee. Send news to him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @danshaferMKE.