The quality of a banking app can have the power to make consumers switch banks, according to ANZ Bank's Group General Manager for Innovation Peter Dalton.
All the major Australian banks have poured money into customer-facing mobile application development as smartphone and tablet penetration continues to soar.
Around one in 10 ANZ Bank customers do their banking exclusively on their mobile devices. Its competitors are all going through similar growth in mobile banking, with Westpac boasting 1.58 million customers engaging the bank through mobile devices.
On the surface, banking apps from all the major players seem to perform similar functions, with very little to differentiate between them. However, Dalton claims that the difference is evident if users peer "under the hood" of these apps.
It can be the little things, including the ability to add new billers and payees directly through a smartphone, making the process more convenient for customers.
Consumers are likely going to download banking apps based on which bank they already have an existing relationship with, and are unlikely to do in-depth comparisons between different banking apps beforehand, according to Dalton.
"But over time, as they learn how good or bad that particular app is, and other things they want to do, they might actually look at other competitive services," he said at the FST Media banking technology conference in Sydney. "Because what we know in Australia is that most customers have more than one banking relationship."
"So on your phone, you are just as likely to have an app from 2-3 banks."
To ensure its mobile banking apps are attractive to these consumers and to keep existing customers happy, ANZ has adopted certain development principles to ensure that its apps are, first and foremost, simple to use and that customers will want to use the products.
"People will put up with something that is okay for a period of time, but when something significantly better comes out at a particular point in time, they will make a decision to move," Dalton said.
However, he places less value on being the first to bring out a newfangled mobile banking app.
"There's no doubt there was once a time when you can differentiate by being first," Dalton said. "We think it's much more important to differentiate by being easy and really engaging for the customers to use."