Rise of the Mobile Banker: Do financial companies really need responsive websites?

Sep 16, 2020

Do financial companies really need responsive websites? Short answer: Yes. Long Answer: Yes.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t quite make a blog post so I’m going to dig down a bit more to discover why the financial industry needs dragged out of the desktop-laden past.

So push away that dusty CRT monitor, pick up your fancy new Google Pixel XL and dive into the world of responsive design!

A Responsiveness Ministudy

When you think of the financial sector, you don’t necessarily picture people sitting on their phones, flicking between Instagram and their stock portfolio. And that’s fair.

While digital behaviour is generally trending away from desktops and towards mobile, the financial industry is still reasonably heavily weighted towards more traditional browsing devices.

To discover exactly what the sector looks like, we analysed over 47,000 unique visitors across a number of websites in the financial sector. Here’s what we found.

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Of the 47,000 unique visitors, seven in ten were using desktop devices. Compared to some other industries, that’s astonishingly high.

Hospitality websites, for examples, usually receive about 60-80% of their traffic from mobile devices.

So, if 72.8% of your audience is using a desktop, why bother with a mobile website?

Well, first things first, 27.2% of your audience is still a huge chunk! If you don’t have a responsive website, those users will simply disappear. Mobile users expect websites to work on their device and won’t hang around for long if they’re forced to pinch and zoom.

Second, just because desktop users form the lion’s share right now, doesn’t mean it’ll stay like that.

There’s a mobile revolution going on in the financial sector right now and customers are coming to expect a high-quality mobile experience as standard.

Over a third of customers at major US banks now use mobile banking apps and that percentage rises to 43 percent looking at a younger 18-29 age demographic.

Then there’s mobile-first banks like Atom, Osper and Mondo, who have quickly established themselves by appealing to the contemporary demand for on-the-go access to finance.

As the expectation for mobile access grows, that 72.8% will shrink. Trust me. Or, if you don’t want to trust me, here’s JP Morgan’s head of digital marketing, Robert Tas.

“For us, mobile is a critical channel, the fastest growing channel we have, and one that uniquely makes banking a lot more convenient.”

Rebuilding Trust

Lehman Brothers, Monsanto, Bernie Madoff, Northern Rock, RBS. In the past ten years, trust in the financial services has been rocked to its core by dodgy dealings, lax regulation and shameless self-interest.

Back in 2012, the Edelman Trust Barometer ranked financial services and banking lowest on its global scale.

More dodgy than a used car salesman, less reputable than a sleazy lawyer and slipperier than greased up politician.

The perception amongst the public is that financial firms are out for themselves, dishing out huge bonuses to executives at the expense of their customers and clients.

When you’re thinking about rebuilding trust between your customers and your financial firm, responsive design might not be the first thing that springs to mind. However, how you design and build your websites and web applications actually has a huge influence on how your customers view you.

Designing your website and apps so they work everywhere shows that you’re prioritising convenience and accessibility. Spending extra money on a mobile website doesn’t really benefit you directly but it proves that you’re interested in your customers.

It proves that you’re willing to design and build your services around your customers and their behaviour.

Don’t underestimate the influence that’ll have with your customers.