Stay wealthy with your Android smartphone

Mbile site full - Coutts

Your Android phone can be a useful tool with a vast array of applications that you can run on it to make your life easy and more interesting. Smartphones have become so sophisticated that they are even aware of your geographic location so it can remind you that you are close to your favourite restaurant, or that you now have even more credit with a fashion retailer around the corner.

Banking on your wealth

Banking is no exception. Many financial institutions have mobile websites and even a mobile application that you can download on your smartphone to make your banking possible when you are on the go. These mobile apps are developed by the institution according to their specific products and services, the types of transactions they allow you to do and according to what they perceive to be your particular needs. Mobile websites are designed with your Android smartphone in mind, adjusting to screen orientation and size so that you get exactly the same picture of the bank’s services and products as when you would view it on a desktop device.

A closer look at wealth management institutions in particular, reveals that most of them have a long way to go towards offering decent mobile websites and apps. To start with, very few wealth management banks actually have a mobile app, which is surprising, since wealth management clients typically own high-end Android devices, and most likely a tablet in addition to a smartphone. They are also more likely to travel frequently, making an even bigger case for mobile apps to enable them to manage their wealth when away from home or office.

Close to home

There are many international wealth management banks, but the two major banks close to home are ANZ and Westpac. Westpac does not offer their client a separate mobile website, but instead “optimised” their desktop website for use on mobile devices. This leaves mobile customers short-changed. For example, there is no search tool and not all the website pages adjust automatically to screen size and orientation. These functions are taken for granted with mobile apps. The customer log-in leads to Westpac’s retail banking site, which means that when you are on the move, you cannot execute transactions to manage your investments (unless the retail log-in provides links to wealth management transactions). Westpac also seems to pay no attention to the trend to provide social media integration from their mobile websites. Customers want to share investment news with their social media contacts, or draw their attention to the latest investment opportunities while they are mobile. There is no mention of a mobile app for wealth management customers.

ANZ provides separate Australian and New Zeeland websites for their wealth management customers. Sadly, ANZ also offers no separately developed mobile website or mobile app for its wealth management customers. Fortunately, their desktop website renders sufficiently well on smartphones, but there is no optimization to adjust to screen size or orientation.

Further from home

Some other banks in the world do an excellent job of providing for their wealth management customers. ABN Amro, BNP Paribas, Coutts, Goldman Sachs and Investec are some examples of banks who have developed a full separate website offering especially for mobile devices.

Mobile site - Paribas
Their mobile websites leverage the benefits of mobile, such as calls to action (buttons to make a phone call to the bank’s contact center) and GPS assistance to navigate to the nearest branch. They also provide links to a mobile app, with a description of the app and the ability for customers to download the app to their Android smartphone.

It makes sense that financial institutions should leverage the benefits of the mobile platform and in the process use social media trends to their marketing advantage. We can only hope that they all eventually acknowledge that an Android smartphone can be key to a customer’s efforts to stay wealthy.

Anton Venter

Anton covered Google technology for over four years from the the city of Johannesburg in South Africa. He has reviewed mobiles and Android devices for a number of local blogs and magazines; Anton loves researching and numbers.

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