On April 4, 2012, Fiserv, one of the largest payment processing service providers for the banking industry, released a white paper analyzing the current state of multi-channel banking, which is a consumer’s use of more than one channel to conduct banking activities.  The white paper, titled “Snacking, Lunching and Fine Dining: How Mobile is Reshaping Every Banking Channel,” argues that mobile banking’s evolution from informational services, such as balance inquiries and ATM locations, to transactional services, such as bill payment and funds transfers, impacts all three of the primary banking channels: branch banking, online banking, and mobile banking. 

The white paper analogizes mobile banking to snacking, online banking to lunching, and branch banking to fine dining based on the consumer’s level of interaction with the bank.  A consumer’s use of mobile banking is akin to snacking because the consumer’s interaction is quick and may have a sense of urgency.  For example, a consumer may use mobile banking to check his or her balance or pay a bill immediately before its due date.  Online banking is similar to lunching in that the interaction is more structured and routine than mobile banking.  Online banking is conducive to in-depth and periodic self-service banking activities, including managing budgets and finances.  Branch banking is comparable to fine dining because consumers now only rarely visit their local bank branches to conduct banking activities.  Typically, consumers visit their bank branches for infrequent consultative services that require substantial interaction. 

Optimizing consumers’ multi-channel banking experiences ultimately will provide a number of benefits to banks and consumers, including increased efficiency from focusing on the delivery of specific services in the particular channel that is the most used by consumers.  Privacy and security are one impediment to consumers’ adoption of mobile banking services.  Accordingly, banks’ ability to enhance privacy and security in connection with services delivered through the mobile channel ultimately will help determine the extent to which they profit from multi-channel banking.