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Posted: May 30, 2012

Banking on the go

Manage your cash flow from anywhere

Kathleen Matthews

Cell phones are becoming such a vital part of people’s daily lives: Now small business owners are turning their phones into a cash management tool.

Increasingly, busy executives are using mobile banking to stay on top of company finances. A business leader can “visit the bank” by mobile phone – easily, securely and in real time – between making sales calls, overseeing operations in the field or even traveling halfway across the country.

Mobile banking enables the entrepreneur to make the most of their time, investing every moment in taking the business to the next level. Instead of driving across town to the company office or a banking center to keep an eye on cash flow, the business leader is able to access information and exercise control anywhere, any time, and any way.

Information enables quick action

The heart of business mobile banking is putting real-time financial information in the business leader’s hands. A safe, convenient platform connects the executive with the company’s bank accounts through secure texting, the phone’s Web browser or a special application offering an enhanced mobile experience.

The most common mobile banking actions by small business people are checking account balances or reviewing recent transaction history, allowing them to stay on top of cash flow in real time. Business owners can also transfer money between accounts, pay bills, verify if a check has cleared, set transaction alerts to personalized thresholds and find the nearest Banking Center or ATM.
Three-fourths of mobile banking customers go one step further and program alerts that turn their phones into proactive cash management tools. These truly mobile business leaders receive a text or online notification as activity occurs so they are continually informed—and can take fast action when needed.

For example: At 9:02 a.m. a contractor out on a job gets a secure alert that the main checking account’s balance has dipped below a pre-specified threshold. With simple, secure phone commands, he visits the company’s second account. By 9:05 a.m., the owner completes a transfer of funds to bring the primary account back into the “safe” zone … without ever leaving the job or missing out on productivity.

Convenience keeps business on the go

Banking services, of course, have always been available when a businessperson visits the bank. But now executives have the benefit of having many important interactions available at their fingertips. The convenience of mobile banking keeps up with entrepreneurs “on the go,” which is how businesses grow.

If cash is king for a business owner, then time is queen. With mobile banking, owners can become more efficient by obtaining instantaneous information and arranging transactions – without taking time away from valuable activities. Additionally, business owners also have the option of establishing cash flow alerts, which means the owner doesn’t have to reach out to monitor accounts, further maximizing their time. Once the desired parameters are programmed, the system lets the executive know if there is a need for action.

Another example: A business owner arrives five minutes early in the waiting room of a West Coast customer. Did their last payment arrive yet? She is 1,500 miles away from Kansas City, but banking is as quick as sending and receiving a text, visiting the mobile banking site or opening her favorite “app.” The information is quickly verified before she is greeted, and the entrepreneur breathes easier as she walks into the meeting with up-to-the-moment information in hand.

Customizable features offer flexibility

Banks offer mobile banking services with a variety of service levels and capabilities. Business leaders should look for customizable features tailored to meet individual needs and preferences.

Research multiple bank websites and review product demos. This will enable comparison of mobile options available to small businesses.

First, available mobile banking options are extremely important as individuals have specific preferences in how they do their banking. Secure text messages, connecting through a mobile Web browser and smartphone apps that tailor the experience to a specific phone are amongst favored technologies.

Secondly, the level of customization is critical. The technology should provide user-customizable alerts based on levels of account balance, deposits or withdrawals. Some programs have preset options, while others enable the user to specify these directly. Depending on the business owner’s need, the latter may be preferred as it provides a higher level of flexibility that may be valuable in certain scenarios.

Finally, the mobile banking system should have the ability, and thus the necessary technology, to adapt quickly to phone upgrades and changes. As the rapid changes in cell phones and other mobile devices continue, so should the mobile banking platforms that are housed on these systems.

A businessperson on the go should seek out mobile banking that works anytime, anywhere and any way. Every business owner has their own unique set of needs – it’s only reasonable that their mobile banking solution provide the wherewithal to address them.

Kathleen Matthews is Vice President, Small Business, of UMB Bank // (303) 267-9486 // kathleen.matthews@umb.com // www.umb.com

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