Banks tend to group the wealth of apps and other mobile tools that allow remote check deposit, online bill payments and other customer services into the category of mobile banking, thinking of all those activities as ways to replicate traditional banking services in the virtual environment.

However, based on McGladrey’s “From mobile banking to the mobile bank: making the leap from app to strategy“, if they still think that mobile banking is just a technical tool used to offer customers the same services they’ve always offered, they are missing out on the real promise of this revolutionary service channel.

Financial institutions’ mobile banking strategies should be to use these game-changing new tools to fundamentally deepen and strengthen relationships with customers. Through evolving tools such as the digital wallet, banks can help customers understand and manage their finances in ways never before possible.

Using these tools, banks can position themselves as the foundation of their customers’ financial lives. They can leverage the trust and access that new relationship gives them to expand and solidify customer relationships in exciting and profitable new ways.

To do that, banks must grasp the scope of the migration to mobile banking services across their entire customer spectrum. Americans bill payment habits best illustrate the increasing acceptance and tremendous potential of mobile banking.

In 2012, 8 million US households paid a bill using an app, text or mobile browser. In 2013, that number doubled to 16 million. Banks must keep abreast of how and where competitors are setting the bar for mobile banking offerings – and the emerging tools that successful banks will use to separate themselves from the pack.

Again, the digital wallet is a prime example. Done right, a digital wallet can integrate budgeting and financial management tools directly into everyday spending activity. For example, customers can establish weekly or monthly budget targets across various categories, such as groceries, gas, clothing and entertainment.

As a customer makes a purchase, the digital wallet automatically categorises that expense into the appropriate category, and provides a real-time update against the customer’s budget targets. How much more effectively could your customers manage their finances if, after each trip to the grocery store, they knew exactly what they had spent on groceries that month, and what portion of their grocery budget they had left? And how would having easy access to that information change the way they view their relationship with your bank?