Editor's note: Like Apple’s dual SIM support, FIs must provide a seamless experience between personal and business banking platforms.
Last month Apple announced that it will offer dual SIM card support for iPhones, allowing one phone to work for two separate numbers and even carriers. The main driver behind this offering is to allow consumers the ability to operate both their personal and work phones on the same device. This desire for a seamless, consistent experience on one device is the force driving consumers’ desire for a single banking app for business and personal banking needs.
Growth in small business banking
Savvy banks and credit unions are beginning to cater more to the small business segment, a traditionally underserved group, by providing product offerings tailored to their specific needs. In the past, many small business owners were forced to either leverage corporate banking solutions or manage their finances via consumer accounts, neither a good fit for small business owners.
This move toward better serving small businesses is not accidental. The small business market is not only growing, but thriving. In 2017, small businesses finished the year strong, reporting both revenue increases and optimism for future growth according to the fourth quarter 2017 Private Capital Access (PCA) Index report from Dun & Bradstreet and Pepperdine Graziadio Business School. Fifty-eight percent of small businesses reported a profitable quarter. The future looks positive to most small business owners who anticipate revenues to grow an average of 9.1% in the next 12 months, up from 8.7% one year ago.
While Apple is recognizing that consumers want the flexibility to decouple their business and personal lives while maintaining the convenience of using one device, small business banking platforms should offer the same flexibility while maintaining a consistent user experience across their consumer and small business operations.
Key features of a digital small business banking platform
In addition to the ability to access both consumer and business accounts with a simple toggle, the small business segment is demanding more digital experiences tailored for their unique needs. Financial institutions wishing to protect and grow the value of their small business offerings will need to provide products and services tailored to those organizations. They cannot afford to continue the “round peg into a square hole” practice of the past where small businesses were offered little or nothing of value. Below are some examples of the features small businesses expect from their financial institutions.
- Toggle – Having a single log in that allows users to access personal and business accounts eliminates the need to remember multiple passwords and repeatedly log in and out to access the information and services they need. This capability generates a “stickiness” that enhances customer retention and improves customer satisfaction.
- User Entitlements – Allowing small business owners to determine who can access what accounts and what services while also setting thresholds for authorizations and approvals is key to small business owners. This feature enables owners to allow employees to help manage finances while securely monitoring and managing who has access to what bills, documents or transfer functionality, with appropriate limits and controls.
- Automated Intelligence Reporting –Providing information on budgets, cash flow statements, expenses and income statements - all automatically populated and distributed within the digital banking interface- allows the business owner to better manage cash flow and project the needs of his or her business over extended time periods. For financial institutions, this provides a great opportunity to not only strengthen the relationship with the business owner, but also provide additional support to the small business if needed.
By prioritizing the small business segment and providing the specific features and functionality these businesses need, banks and credit unions can successfully expand their footprint in this important client segment. To do so, financial institutions must deliver the following: convenience, a consistent user experience across all accounts and value added services that help small business effectively maintain a financially healthy business. These are the table stakes.