Phoenix Synergistics: Mobile Banking and Payments in the Small Business Market

Feb 2018 | Banking, Deposits, Transfers, and Payments | Apps and Alerts | Innovative Activities

Mobile banking and payments is a growing and exciting area in the small business market.  Somewhat paralleling the consumer market, small business owners and executives are increasingly utilizing their mobile phones or other devices for day-to-day banking activities – including balance and activity inquiries, transfers between accounts, and remote deposits.  Indeed, previous Phoenix Synergistics research has found that mobile RDC has significant appeal among small businesses. Mobile payments is another area seeing notable adoption among small businesses.  This encompasses mobile bill payment, mobile payments at the point of sale, and mobile P2P payments.  In terms of receiving payments, mobile card readers – attached to a mobile phone or tablet – are also seeing widening popularity among small businesses.

Profiling this current activity is an important step in assessing the overall potential for the mobile banking and payments channel.  This includes aspects such as frequency of usage, preferences for apps vs. web browsers, and the utilization of mobile account alerts.  Pricing strategies and revenue opportunities are another important consideration in evaluating this market. Are small business customers willing to pay fees or maintain balances to have mobile banking and payment services?  Or is this primarily a relationship retention tool that creates account “stickiness”?

Non-traditional providers – such as PayPal and Square – are also an element in the small business mobile banking and payments space – aggressively competing for a share of the market with an array of innovative products and services.  In this dynamic environment, it is necessary to understand the perspective of small businesses.  This study will give providers a better understanding of the mobile financial needs of their small business customers so they can design or refine mobile banking and payment services for small businesses.


  • Profile the PC-based online banking and financial activities of small businesses as a basis for assessing the potential for mobile activities. Identify types of accounts accessed and activities performed. Assess the extent to which laptop computers are used in a “mobile mode.”
  • Measure the extent to which small businesses are accessing their financial accounts with mobile devices – mobile phones or tablets. Detail mobile activity – accounts accessed, weekly frequency of usage, and types of activities and transactions. Assess differences, if any, between mobile phone and tablet activity.
  • Assess mobile bill payment activity. Measure current monthly frequency and contrast with PC-based activity. Determine relative usage of the sites or apps of FIs, billing organizations, and third parties.  Evaluate the potential for adoption of mobile bill payment in the next year.
  • Determine the role of the mobile channel for small business financial activities – major, secondary, or only for emergencies. Determine if mobile banking is used to access accounts at the main provider and if this channel would be recommended.
  • Examine current experience with and potential for innovative mobile activities – such as mobile cash management, mobile RDC, mobile POS payments, and mobile card processing. Assess current mobile B2B payments activity.
  • Assess the potential for expanding the user base for mobile banking and financial activities. Determine reasons for non-adoption. Identify advantages that may be marketing points as well as disadvantages that may represent objections to address.
  • Determine if current or future usage of mobile banking is related to particular small business identifiers or variables – such as annual sales volume, industry segment, or number of employees.  Assess how other current channel behavior may impact the mobile channel.

Survey Topics

  • Current Environment
  • Online Banking Activity
  • Mobile/Tablet Banking


National Internet Survey – The survey will include 800 online interviews with owners and executives of small businesses with annual sales of $50K to $5M.  Industry categories include manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and services.

Key Dates

January 2018 – Initial results available.

February 2018 – Project Report available.

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