Shelby Hoffpauir
Jan 23 7 min read

Small Businesses, Big Needs: Understanding What Makes a Winning Mobile Banking Apps for SMBs

Small Businesses, Big Needs: Understanding What Makes a Winning Mobile Banking Apps for SMBs

Small businesses are more than just scaled-down versions of large corporations. Their financial needs are unique and require a tailored approach to mobile banking. A recent study by Keynova Group analyzes the mobile offerings of 10 central banks and reveals the critical features missing from their apps. Let's dive into these findings.

What Small Businesses Crave

  • Desktop-level functionality: While mobile usage is increasing, many small businesses still rely heavily on desktop banking. Mobile apps must offer the same depth and functionality as their desktop counterparts.
  • Business-specific features: Generic consumer features won't cut it. Small businesses need tools like built-in cash flow projections and robust transaction search options.
  • Multiple user access: Many businesses have numerous owners and officers requiring account access. Mobile apps should facilitate this securely and efficiently.
  • Multi-bank account aggregation: Small businesses often have accounts at various institutions. The ability to aggregate them in a single app provides a complete financial picture.
  • Fast payments and invoicing: Small businesses need the ability to make quick and easy payments, including domestic wire transfers and faster payments through platforms like FedNow. Some may also benefit from integrated invoice functionality.

Where Mobile Apps Lag Behind

  • Cash flow analysis: Most mobile apps offer basic cash flow reports, but they need more depth and sophistication required by small businesses, often failing to handle multi-account situations.
  • Search and filtering: Many search tools must be improved, hindering efficient transaction management. Keyword search and filtering by dollar range are basic functionalities that have not been universally implemented.
  • Limited transaction capabilities: Some apps cannot execute essential functions like domestic wire transfers, restricting their usefulness for small businesses.
  • Weak customer support: Dedicated support for small businesses needs to be improved. Live chat, callback options, and fast routing to appropriate representatives are crucial for time-sensitive business users.

Opportunities for Community Banks and Fintechs

  • Leveraging APIs: Smaller institutions can quickly add needed functionality to their apps without extensive custom development through application programming interfaces (APIs).
  • Personalized experiences: Fintechs leverage data and AI to personalize the mobile banking experience, providing a more tailored and relevant service for small businesses.

The Future of Digital Account Opening

  • Importance of Fully Digital Account Opening: Small businesses often operate with limited resources, including time and staffing. By enabling fully digital account opening, banks can significantly reduce the time and effort required by small businesses to set up their banking services. This streamlining is crucial for small business owners who must focus on their core business activities rather than lengthy administrative processes.
  • Impact on Efficiency and Customer Experience: When small businesses are compelled to engage in live or video interactions for account opening, it negates the benefits of digital banking and adds unnecessary complexity. Fully digital enrollment can enhance the customer experience by making it more convenient, faster, and user-friendly. This efficiency can lead to higher satisfaction and loyalty among small business clients.
  • Rising Concerns Over Document Security: The advancement of generative AI technologies, which can create realistic forged documents, poses a significant threat to traditional identity verification methods like scanned document uploads. This is particularly relevant for small businesses that require high trust and security in their banking operations.
  • Need for Advanced Verification Methods: The potential of AI-generated forgeries necessitates the development of more sophisticated and secure verification processes. Banks need to invest in advanced technologies such as biometrics, blockchain, or AI-driven authentication methods that can provide more reliable and secure ways of verifying the identity of small business owners.

Small Businesses, Big (Deserving) Needs

Meeting the unique needs of small businesses requires a mobile banking experience that goes beyond basic consumer features. Banks and fintechs need to invest in developing apps that offer powerful business-specific tools, seamless multi-bank account management, and fast, secure payment options. They can build lasting relationships with small businesses and become their trusted financial partners by addressing these critical gaps.

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