Bank of America announced this week that it has enhanced its mobile app, including adding a feature that lets customers alert the Charlotte bank of upcoming travel so the lender doesn’t flag transactions from out-of-the-ordinary places as suspicious.
It’s not unusual for lenders to allow their customers to inform them before traveling inside or outside the U.S. so they won’t suspect fraudulent activity and freeze customers’ credit cards – which can create headaches for travelers. Bank of America was already making the alert feature available to its online banking customers. But as of this month, Bank of America customers can also make the notifications through the bank’s mobile app.
In the other app change Bank of America announced this week, the lender has put an appointment scheduling feature on the app’s landing page. Customers can use the feature to book time to meet inside a branch with a financial adviser or a personal or small-business banker.
The scheduling feature was already available elsewhere on Bank of America’s mobile app. Putting it on the landing page makes it easier for consumers to access, the bank said.
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Both changes come as banks are under pressure to improve their mobile apps as more of their customers use mobile phones to conduct transactions – and foot traffic to teller lines slumps. Just last week, the Federal Reserve released a report showing 39 percent of Americans used mobile banking services last year, up from 33 percent a year earlier.
The percentage was 22 percent in 2011, when the Fed began the annual surveys on consumer use of mobile financial services. The percentage has grown every year since.
According to Bank of America, it has 17 million active mobile banking customers, a figure it says grows by more than 150,000 a month. The bank says it is rapidly evolving its mobile banking capabilities as its mobile banking users rise. (For more on Bank of America’s mobile strategy, here’s an interview I did last year with one of the bank’s executives in charge of mobile banking.)
Bank of America is not the only lender to announce recent changes to its mobile app. Last week, Wells Fargo unveiled a Spanish language setting for its mobile app.
As banks look to improve their mobile apps, they do so at a time when other banks are not just their only rival. Banks also face ongoing competition from non-banks, which are branching out into areas like checking and savings.