Go mobile or go back home — especially when it comes to payment and finance.
That is one thing that came to mind on Wednesday (Jan. 15) with the release of The State of Mobile in 2020, the latest and highly anticipated report from mobile data and analytics company App Annie. The report reviews the mobile landscape of 2019 and serves as a guidepost for coming attractions in this realm.
Mobile apps devoted to finance — from banks, for instance, or other players in the broader payments-and-commerce ecosystem — were accessed about 1 trillion times in 2019. That’s not only a headline-friendly milestone but represents a 100 percent year-over-year increase from 2017. “From stock management to mobile banking to payment apps, this showcases mobile’s central role in managing our daily finances,” the report said.
But offering such apps is not enough, not in this competitive world of mobile, and not with many consumers — especially younger ones — demanding more from all types of business, not the least of which are financial institutions and other payment services providers. That is reflected in the App Annie stats from 2019.
“Loyalty and referral programs can help cultivate deeper engagement in finance apps,” the report said. More specifically, the report stated that “Citi reported 83 percent of consumers — and 94 percent of millennials — are more likely to participate in a loyalty program if it’s on mobile.” And it’s not just big banks playing the mobile finance game. “Both Apple and Google have both recognized the power of mobile as our financial hub, with Google offering checking accounts and Apple offering a credit card,” the report added.
The report’s release — among the big statistical events in the mobile app world — comes amid increasing focus on the best ways to craft financial apps, and increased talk about constructing and deploying so-called super apps. As PYMNTS has covered, a super app, in general, is an everyday app that becomes the front door for how consumers interact with and purchase goods and services as they go about their day-to-day activities. Such an app could cover multiple commerce and payments needs.
As its moniker implies, a Super App is supposed to make it super easy for consumers to have more seamless access to the activities that are part of their everyday journey. And enabling payments for those goods and services within that Super App goes along for the ride.
It’s what WeChat and Alipay already are in China, and what LINE is in Japan. Rappi follows suit in Latin America. It’s what Grab and Gojek are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to become in South Asia. It’s Facebook’s global ambition, with or without Libra and Calibra. It’s the path that Amazon, Google and Apple are blazing for its users, too. And according to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, it’s also Uber’s next big move.
After all, as Karen Webster noted in a column about PYMNTS research into the subject, it can take consumers four different apps and four different interactions across their existing apps — and many minutes — to close the loop on that single flow.
As talk around super apps builds, the newest App Annie report dug into the user trends for finance and banking apps in 2019. Measured by global average, the monthly average users of the top 10 fintech apps, the report said, increased 20 percent year over year in 2019. The monthly average users of banking apps increased 15 percent.
Mobile Wallet Question
“While banking apps tend to have higher existing user bases, this illustrates FinTech’s disruption — enabled and accelerated by mobile — of traditional banking services,” the report said. “The key to mobile is ease, accessibility and simplicity. Features like face or finger recognition streamline the user journey. This underscores why companies can’t port over an existing experience to mobile. Mobile requires deliberate planning to meet consumers’ expectations.”
The report also notes the differences that are becoming more apparent when it comes to mobile wallet apps. “Globally, wallet apps by FinTech companies engaged users one more time per user each week than wallet apps by traditional banks,” the report said. “This indicates an additional 52 sessions per year for users of wallets apps by FinTechs, representing millions of potential transactions each year flowing through fintech companies instead of banks.”
As financial institutions and FinTechs continue to find ways to work together and also compete, you can bet the mobile wallet question will become even more important.