Mobile shows potential to revolutionise savings
The latest update of the savings dashboard was released this month, noting some interesting developments.
This quarter the mobile space for savings was buzzing with excitement with the launch of new capabilities by two major players – Nationwide and HSBC. Nationwide has become the first bank in the UK to launch extensive pre-login mobile app functionality – Quick Balance and Impulse Saver. While ‘Quick Balance’ allows existing mobile banking customers to see their account balance at a glance, Impulse Saver lets customers transfer a set amount from their current account to their nominated savings account. Once set up, both features can be accessed without having to log in to the provider’s mobile banking app. Features such as the Impulse Saver encourage savings by giving users an opportunity to save as much and as often as they want without a regular commitment such as required for a standing order. Furthermore, it is an opportunity for banks to gain from increased deposit volumes.
The new savings initiative is already quite popular among its customer base, as made evident by statistics published on the Nationwide website: more than £1.6 million has been saved using Nationwide’s Impulse Saver since its launch two months ago. Although the pre login functionality introduced by Nationwide is a UK first, we have picked up on similar initiatives in the past introduced across the globe in countries such as Sweden, Australia and the Middle East.
Another significant mobile-related development noted was from HSBC, who have joined the likes of RBS and Lloyds in the UK by providing a secure mobile application journey for a savings product. HSBC mobile banking customers can now apply for a Loyalty Cash ISA from within their mobile banking app. The application is fast tracked with a customer’s personal details pre populated, only requiring them to enter their national insurance number and an initial deposit amount from a selected account to complete the application.
Recently we have also noticed banks developing the customer proposition for children’s accounts and were found using innovative techniques for fostering money management in children to promote these. NatWest took the lead earlier this year by launching its First Saver account for children and promoted it extensively through a savings campaign involving promotional videos and specific campaign characters called ‘Pigby & Friends’. They also launched a mobile game app – Pigby’s Fair – for children to further support their campaign and to inspire young savers using gamification.
Santander also recently launched its new 123 Mini account for children and endorsed it by launching a microsite featuring an interactive calculator that allows children to set up savings goals, track its progress and see the total amount that can be raised when saving in a 123 Mini account. Users have the option to either use the calculator as a guest user or save their profile, which includes setting up a ‘mini me’ character and saving multiple goals for later access. The site when accessed on mobile can only be viewed in landscape mode and can be installed on the phone as a web app for easy access.
Mobile innovation within this framework outside the UK includes an educational mobile app – PayPig designed by WestPac in Australia, which aims to help children understand the virtue of savings by allowing them to accumulate their pocket money and rewards paid to them when they complete a chore assigned by a parent. The app allows parents chores with specific deadlines. On completion of the task, the parent receives a notification and can then make a payment directly into the child’s Westpac bank account. The app also allows children to set up savings goals and track its progress.
In the context of money management among children, a recent initiative from a UK start up is worth a mention. Osper has developed an innovative way to encourage saving habits & money management among children by combining prepaid debit cards and a smartphone app that can be controlled both by the child and the parent using separate logins. Parents can switch between multiple cardholders through a single login and use the app to load money, set allowances and monitor spending.
With growing interest in this area by financial institutions to develop and attract a new generation of customers it will be worth seeing how innovatively banks respond to cater to this emerging market with mobile playing a crucial role in propagating their endeavours.