Lukasz Michalkiewicz, from smartphone software developer eLeader, tells about developments in mobile banking and the importance of tailoring applications to mobile platforms.

The Polish company has developed the first mobile banking solution customised for specific mobile operating systems.

Polish software developer eLeader isn’t the first to realise that the mobile world’s different operating systems make it advisable to develop applications tailored to each platform.

It is, however, the first to develop a mobile banking solution that actually does just that. The user interface of its MobileBanking platform has been designed specifically for smartphones with Symbian, Windows Mobile and Blackberry operating systems.

The solution has just been deployed by Raiffeisen Bank Polska SA, a subsidiary of Raiffeisen International – making it the first time a tailored mobile banking app has been used in Europe.

While the development hasn’t exactly sent shock-waves around the mobile world, it does point to the growing acceptance and increasing adoption of mobile banking.

In the US, the majority of the major banks now offer mobile services, including Bank of America Corp., which has signed up 2.4 million mobile banking subscribers.

It also highlights the importance of paying attention to user experience when devising potentially complex mobile applications.

Mobile is Different

Lukasz Michalkiewicz, account manager with eLeader, told that too often developments for the mobile are treated in the same way as for the PC.

He said the variations in operating systems, user interfaces, internet browsers, screens and methods of data entry all had to be taken into account.

"In the PC world there is a dominant operating system and browsers, but in the mobile world it’s different," he said.

"A really intuitive mobile experience comes from applications tailored to all the different operating systems, browsers and so on.

"We see that as the way to ensure an intuitive and truly user-friendly mobile experience."

eLeader plans to roll the solution out to the iPhone in the next few months.

m-Banking’s Extended Functionality

As well as improving the UI, the application gives users to access to services, such as being able to contact their financial adviser directly.

Michalkiewicz said Raiffeisen Bank’s VIP Mobile mobile banking solution extends the scope of m-banking to include advanced functionalities once only found in internet banking applications.

He said it allows the bank’s customers to conduct the full range of common financial operations via their mobile handset in a very intuitive way.

"Everything you can do on your PC, you can do on your mobile," he said. "But functionality is extended because with a mobile you can do it anywhere."

Raiffeisen Bank is a part of Raiffeisen International, a banking group operating in 17 markets of the Central and Eastern European region (CEE) and with 14.6 million customers.

Mariusz Glinski, head of electronic banking at the bank, said it has developed its mobile channel over many years, initially offering simple SIM-based software and later Java-based applications.

He said that if m-banking is to be taken seriously then it has to be accepted that the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to mobile applications will only go so far in today’s market.

"To create truly usable applications we must take into account the characteristics of each type of mobile device," he said.

"This is the only way to provide successful solutions which consumers really want to use on their handsets."

It certainly seems as though mobile banking is moving towards wider acceptance and uptake. Please let us know your thoughts on the technology and available solutions.

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