It is easy to say that our life can be conveniently managed by apps. Even toddlers have a plethora of applications available on their parents’ mobile devices. But we are still at the infant stages of exploring the opportunities offered by mobile technologies, and it sometimes takes a kid’s point of view to realize it. Ever seen a small child trying to interact with a printed ad at a bus stop? They don’t understand why the ad does not move. They expect it to change when they touch it.
These are not unreasonable expectations. Our world is still full of unexplored frontiers. One of them is adopting mobile technology for treasury management. As mobile consumer banking has taken off and corporate banking is moving towards mobile service models, it’s now the time for treasury management to benefit from the convenience offered by mobile technology. As an individual, you can use a banking app to check your account and send payments on the go. There is no reason why as a treasury manager, you should not be able to do the same from your mobile device. The technological capabilities are there.
Let’s take a look at how mobility has simplified other parts of financial services.
In 2010 RBS Citizens became the first bank in its category to offer a corporate mobile banking app, accessMOBILE. In the first three months of its releaseaccessMOBILE experienced a 75% download rate by the bank’s targeted cash management customers. This rapid download rate was a testament to the high demand for corporate mobile banking apps by treasury managers.
Since accessMOBILE’s launch, more players have entered the arena and the apps are becoming increasingly useful to corporate money managers. While early apps were more informative, newer apps have become much more action-oriented, allowing corporate customers the ability to do things such as approve pending transactions and initiate wire transfers. In fact, wire transfers are among the most popular activities done over mobile, with Wells Fargo reporting $17 billion in mobile wire traffic in 2012, and just this past year Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) reported that one user of its CashPro mobile app users approved a $3.7 billion payment. Talk about that for sealing the deal while on the golf course.
One of the big beneficiaries are businesses which operate in different countries. According to a recent Mercator survey, 60% of business travelers with an employer-issued smartphone said they take it with them on trips and use it for business banking transactions.
And for those who may worry about security issues associated with using a mobile device for such large transactions, these concerns are largely unwarranted. Financial services apps are well tested before release and come equipped with top of the line security features that go far beyond what one might encounter when attempting to log into their Facebook account. Currently banks have security measurements in place such as two-step authentication, special electronic tokens, and high-powered message encryption for transferring information between the bank and the user’s app. In addition, top banks are actively working with phone manufacturers to incorporate biometric solutions. The iPhone 5s already comes equipped with fingerprint technology, a feature that might soon be used in the banking app sign-in process.
The ground work has been laid for treasury management to get onto the mobile bandwagon. Based on our experience of working with global financial institutions, mobile treasury management won’t be the next frontier for long. To get started, think like a kid for a moment. You’ll realize that the opportunities are endless. And most likely, you’d rather want to have all the opportunities at your fingertips now.