Snippet: In September, I blogged about some of the findings of our 2019 German consumer survey, focusing on respondents’ attitudes to mobile banking and payments security.

In September, I blogged about some of the findings of our 2019 German consumer survey, focusing on respondents’ attitudes to mobile banking and payments security. Today, I’ll look at consumers’ appetite for banking app innovation in the world’s fourth-largest economy and the promise of in-built payment capabilities. (The German-language illustrated report is available for download here. You can also contact us for the survey methodology and datasets in German and English.)

Where to next for the banking app?

Germans are inveterate comparison shoppers, and it has never been easier for them to shop around for financial and payments products online. They are spoiled for choice too, with an unprecedented range of products available to them from traditional providers, digital-only banks, fintech companies, and big tech. They are better informed about fintech innovators than people in other European countries, according to PwC’s Mobile Payment Report 2019 and above-average users of digital products and services from Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple.

These giants are blessed with large amounts of consumer data, and their laser-sharp focus on the digital user experience keeps them well ahead of fast-changing consumer preferences. They may or may not hold ambitions to take over core retail banking services, but technological innovation and European regulations promoting competition in the sector position them well to divert other, more valuable business from traditional financial services providers.

On the other hand, people do not trust the big tech companies with their personal data the way they do their banks. Accountholders remain loyal, especially when it comes to their current and savings accounts, and they say they would prefer to use bank-provided alternatives to the new digital payment and money management services marketed by technology companies.

 

Frequency of use of payments apps

 

In Germany, as in much of Europe, mobile payments still have a way to go to ubiquity. Our survey returned higher usage figures than other recent studies but echoed the same general lack of consumer enthusiasm. Just under one-quarter (24 percent) of mobile device owners use payment apps once a week or more, with PayPal peer-to-peer/e-money payments by far the most popular albeit dissimilar product (held by 32 percent), followed by Google Pay (8 percent), and Apple Pay and Payback Pay in a near tie at 4 percent. Usage drops off sharply from there: a majority (52 percent) either do not have a payment app or may have one but never use it.

The opportunity is very much still there for banks to boost use of mobile payments on their terms, under their own brands. Banking apps are excellent launchpads for converged mobile payments capabilities. Besides their relative popularity, they come from a highly trusted brand, and they can be updated seamlessly with new services – card details pre-loaded – so app users find it easier to experiment.

We asked our survey’s participants three questions to gauge appetite for all-in-one banking and payments apps (something we also looked at in our US consumer survey).

 

The appeal of a combination banking–payments app

 

High percentages of German consumers find the idea of an all-in-one banking and payments app attractive. Forty-five percent say they would like a single app covering both sets of needs. Similar numbers claim they would make less use of cash (46 percent) and cards (45 percent) if they had an app of this kind. Among people aged 18 to 40, percentages were 62, 60, and 61 respectively.

This looks like a real opportunity for German financial institutions to extend the value their apps provide users and to ensure that their brand remains in front of them at the point of sale.

 

Appetite for innovation

Appetite for innovation

 

More broadly, we found that Germans are eager to see more innovation from their banks. Almost two-thirds (62 percent) of banking app users would increase use if offered a greater range of innovative features and services.

What they’re telling us is that there is still a lot the industry can do to engage them through user-friendly, mobile-first product development – and so much to gain from doing so. There are the obvious cost savings and new revenue streams, but meeting the customer on their home turf represents something of equal or greater value: a reinforced trust relationship and revitalized brand in a period of rapid change.

Entersekt helps banks win at payments. Contact us today to learn more about the Entersekt Secure Platform and our digital payments enablement solutions.

 

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Mark van Dalsen

MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Mark has been marketing fintech since the last century and remains smitten with the business and the art of building brands.

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Entersekt is an innovator of customer-centric fintech solutions. Financial services providers and other enterprises rely on our patented mobile identity system to provide both security and the best in convenient new digital experiences to their customers, irrespective of the service channel. With us, they can concentrate on their innovation roadmap, while delivering intuitive, low-friction digital experiences to their customers.