Will mobile apps make brick-and-mortar banks obsolete?

More financial institutions are beefing up their mobile channels to provide more variety and convenience to existing customers and boost customer acquisition figures. However, some industry analysts say that this strategy may backfire and only quicken the pace at which brick-and-mortar banks become less utilized by consumers.

Analysts say there are several features – ranging from basic to more complex – offered by mobile apps that make the need to visit a branch less pressing. For example, many apps provide financial assistance programs that allow users to balance their checkbooks, monitor their balances and establish a budget. These actions were previously accomplished in a branch or online, but now individuals have the flexibility to manage their finances on the run, according to the Huffington Post.

There are also now several types of financial transactions eliminate the need to visit a branch or an ATM in a financial institution’s network. For example, consumers can check balances, transfer funds and deposit checks via their smartphones. While remote check capture is still in the development stages, many consumers who are shopping for a new bank are factoring this option into their decisions.

Many industry professionals have dismissed claims that mobile technology will altogether replace banks in the future. Consumers may continue to need brick-and-mortar facilities to apply for mortgages, withdraw cash, make cash deposits and open an account with a financial institution. While studies show that the U.S. is becoming a more cashless society, few experts are confident that cash will ever truly be replaced as millions of Americans are hesitant to jump on the mobile banking bandwagon. However, recent reports from national institutions, such as Bank of America, reveal that many banks are scaling back services and employing more automated systems.

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