Banks better get moving on extending mobile apps to tablets

If banks want to stay competitive, they may want to focus less on checking fee gimmicks and more on developing apps for mobile banking.

It seems like every 12 seconds there's some kind of bank commercial touting the reasons you should choose it for your banking needs. And while I should choose a financial institution by virtue of its low interest rates, low checking fees, or debit reward points, do you know what my main criteria is? A snazzy tote bag. No, just kidding. Actually, my main criterion is convenience.

That's right: It's as simple as which bank is closest to my house so that I can hit the ATM without paying out-of-network fees. Which bank offers online banking (specifically online bill pay)?

And I'm not alone. A recent study found that 63 percent of U.S. adults who have a bank account indicate that they stay with their current bank because of convenience.

Now my convenience criteria includes which bank offers a mobile web browser because what's more convenient than checking your account balance on your smartphone?

A survey by Harris Interactive on behalf of Yodlee (polling 2,219 adults ages 18 and older) indicates that 49 percent of smartphone owners access their banking information on their smartphones. Thirty-six percent access the information on their tablets.

"Banks have focused on smartphone apps, but stretching the same app to work on a tablet seems to have backfired," says Yodlee Interactive General Manager Joseph Polverari.

What does this mean for banks? It means that optimizing banking on tablets represents a major opportunity to give customers a better and richer experience. If banks need more incentive for "going mobile," consider that of the group surveyed, those with a household income of $75,000 or more are twice as likely to use mobile technologies to deposit their checks.