Prior to 2010, consumer tablet usage worldwide was practically zero. By November 2011, 10% of adults in the United States owned a tablet and that number almost doubled in three months, by January 2012. And tablets are not just gaining speed in the US. Over 7% of the Eurozone adult population now own a tablet and over 8% of Canadian adults own tablets.
With such rapid growth and excitement among the consumer population, one would think that financial services institutions (FSIs) would be developing tablet applications. However, most FSIs abstain and let consumers access the bank’s website through the tablet’s browser or leverage their smartphone app for download to the tablet. As a matter of fact, in a recent CEB TowerGroup survey, 55% of FSIs said that they had no plans to build a tablet application in the next 18 months.
It’s time to come to grips with the fact that the tablet is a new channel. Although it has attributes of both, it is neither online banking (OLB) nor mobile banking. Banks that hope that consumers will access OLB on the tablet are ignoring the interactivity that the touchscreen brings to the tablet. That interactivity makes the tablet perfect for additional features that have not been well-integrated with OLB such as personal financial management tools that depend heavily on charts and graphs to engage the user.
Those banks that simply re-use their mobile app for the tablet are missing the opportunity that the increased real estate brings to the tablet. While the simplified user interface of the mobile app is still good, mobile apps typically have pared down functionality that isn’t necessary on the tablet. While not optimal on a mobile device, customer service features such as reporting lost cards and requesting statement copies can easily be completed on the tablet.
Banks like BB&T and Citibank understand the differences between the tablet, OLB, and mobile banking and have developed new tablet-specific applications accordingly. Check out these applications and you’ll see what you’re missing in your own tablet strategy.