CI First Look – 401(k) Mobile Apps

by on Jul 12, 2012

altMuch like the rest of financial services, the 401(k) industry has gone mobile. Currently, 60% of 401(k) plan providers we monitor offer iPhone apps that allow participants to view their account balances including Charles Schwab, Fidelity, Merrill Edge and Principal Financial Group.

A few firms go beyond basic account information with additional account features. Vanguard’s app features a dynamically updating line graph that simultaneously displays the net investments made toward the account vs. the actual value over a given time period. The graph also dynamically updates to display the data for any of the months that fall within the selected time period. 

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Vanguard Mobile App – Performance Graph

Closing Thoughts
401(k)s are designed to meet long-term retirement needs rather than daily financial decision-making, so it’s not surprising that mobile has been less of a priority than in the bank, card and brokerage segments. However, mobile is clearly catching on and standards will only be raised as firms continue to enhance their offerings. We expect firms to continue to introduce new 401(k) apps that offer capabilities beyond simply displaying account information.