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Bill.com Warns Banks Over SME Mobile Apps

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Bill.com wants banks to step up their enterprise mobility game for small businesses — and fast. The company, along with Aite Group, has just published new research on financial services’ ability to meet SMEs’ mobile workforce needs and concluded that banks need to provide better mobile apps or risk losing business.

Reports by Banking Exchange outlined the research on Wednesday (Aug. 17), which found that more small business owners are using their banks’ mobile apps. While less than half overall use the service, the figure jumps to 53 percent when examining millennial small business owners.

But despite increased adoption, Aite and Bill.com concluded, “most usage to date has been limited to basic capabilities, such as checking balances.”

“Common bank practices of serving small businesses from consumer mobile platforms, coupled with a lack of robust mobile functionality, have prevented many banks from driving adoption to desired levels,” the report stated.

Analysts said banks need to provide detailed account and transaction history, payment authorization capabilities, check management and fraud identification and remote check deposit to small business users of their mobile apps.

Present offerings, however, don’t go this far.

“Businesses, when they do bill pay, generally want to pay a specific invoice or invoices,” explained Bill.com SVP of Product Management Sanjeev Kriplani. “A traditional online bill pay solution doesn’t make that easy. They force you to type in a number in a field. If you’re paying two invoices, that doesn’t work.”

The influx of millennial small business owners is a major driver behind the demand for better mobile banking solutions and experiences among SMEs, Bill.com said. As the generation continues to grow in the SME space, that demand will only increase.

“Millennials have grown up with technology, and they’ve grown up with a set of expectations that have been informed by their experience with consumer interfaces and consumer apps,” Kriplani explained. “As increasing numbers of them become small business owners, they don’t tolerate anything other than that experience with a bank.”

“I think banks have a ways to go on their small business platforms to really become relevant enough and digitally friendly enough to make their offering the right one for millennials,” the executive added.

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