September 2016 – Mobile Alerts

Mobile alerts have the ability to provide clients with critical information and services while they are on the move, which is often when they need them most. Accordingly, 60% of respondents to Corporate Insight’s 2015 Bank Customer Survey indicated that the ability to manage alerts from a mobile app was “very” or “extremely” important, while 50% stated that it was either “very” or “extremely” important to be able to receive push notifications via the app.

As such, it comes as little surprise that every firm in the Mobile Monitorcoverage group offers alerts in at least some form, with an increasing number equipping their mobile apps with support for mobile alert setup and management. While just nine firms (41% of the Mobile Monitor set) offered mobile alert setup and management when we last covered this topic in 2013, a total of 22 firms (85%) now offer this functionality.

In terms of delivery options, email and text remain the most common methods by which firms send alerts; all firms offer delivery via email, while 23 firms (88%) allow clients to receive SMS alerts. However, it is worth noting that seven of the firms offering SMS delivery require clients to register their mobile phone number in email format, a burdensome process that often results in cluttered text alerts with lengthy sender email addresses and unnecessary subject lines.

Alerts from financial services firms typically fall into two categories: account and investment alerts. Account alerts are most common, with 25 firms (96%) allowing clients to set and manage alerts related to balances, account activity and security. Investment alerts, on the other hand, pertain mainly to brokerage and asset management firms, and are offered by all such firms we track. Price triggers are the most common investment alert type, triggered when a security’s price crosses a user-defined threshold. Seven of these firms allow clients to set these alerts via their mobile devices.

This report also assesses interactive SMS capabilities, which are confined to banks and credit card issuers. Eleven of 15 (73%) of bank and card firms we track allow clients to request balances, activity, card payment details and other information via text message. However, select firms such as Capital One and Fifth Third have recently done away with this functionality, citing security and redundancy reasons (due to the ability to check pre-login balances via the app), respectively, indicating a general shift away from interactive SMS services in favor of other methods.