The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Archive for the ‘mobile banking’ Category

Bank of America launches text banking | Netbanker

Jim at Netbanker notes BofA have quietly launched text banking, and it is rolling out in waves.  As Jim points out there is so much more banks can do with mobile.  Everyone has a mobile device in their pocket, enjoy using it and like to interact with it.  Why not take advantage of it, and not just to shift activity to the channel.  that work is largely done.  Mobile offers the potential to build loyalty through  spending and budget assistance type apps.  Ron recently noted his bullishness on PFM’s and I believe the connection of PFM to mobile will be a powerful one. 

Netbanker has more on mobile in their latest Online Banking Report.

The signup process required the entry of a mobile number and a YES response from that mobile device (see screenshots below). While, that’s not much to ask, it did seem unnecessary since I was already signed up for mobile banking through that number.

After responding yes from my mobile, I received a welcome text from the bank.


Written by Colin Henderson

April 13, 2010 at 08:36

Posted in mobile banking

Wesabe introduces a redesigned site with enhanced features

Wesabe have introduced a redesigned site.  It appears to be more than a surface change with nice use of interactive ‘hover’ features with personalised information inside the hover.  The menu is simplified, yet takes you to everything required, including ‘Connections’ that includes iphone and twitter connections.

Its clean, bright, and worth checking out.


Wesabe Site Redesign

If you haven’t logged in to Wesabe lately, you’re in for quite a surprise. We’ve redesigned every single page of the site and have been getting some rave reviews about our new look!

Written by Colin Henderson

May 26, 2009 at 11:22

We will not hear about bricks and clicks after this recession

Deloitte pick up on an interesting characteristic of banks here. Cost cutting occurs during downturns, but its spend spend spend when things are looking good.

Banks rarely get to the point of incremental efficiencies that they note here. Citi are a classic example as noted in the FT this morning.

This fits with the view that this change we are undergoing is not just another blip before we return to business as usual. There is no business as usual coming. The future is smaller, framed in different business models, contains a greater mix of small business, and smaller companies and with retail consumers working harder, longer and for less money.

All this points to realignment of the banks’ models to be more efficient, more effective in customer interaction, and more automated, with much greater reliance on online banking and mobile banking, with less on branch banking.

This time we will not hear about ‘bricks and clicks’ as we did in 2002.

Improving Efficiency: The New High Ground for Banks | Deloitte

The turmoil in the financial markets, coupled with the economic downturn, is fundamentally altering the financial services environment. In this new world, improving operating efficiency has become a competitive necessity. But while financial firms have typically moved quickly to reduce costs when the business cycle is contracting, far too often these efforts have been quickly forgotten when business picks back up.
In this report, we present research conducted by the Deloitte Center for Banking Solutions demonstrating the critical importance of operating efficiency to the fortunes of financial firms. Among the findings is that building efficient operations is not enough — steady, continuous improvement in operating efficiency are required. In fact, banks that have achieved continuous improvements in efficiency have also generally experienced far greater gains in their share prices.

Written by Colin Henderson

May 22, 2009 at 10:59

All banks have the same strategy | what happened to the Starbucks strategy?

It was refreshing to read this piece, and takes us exactly where innovation in financial services ought to be going – the new (old) grand ideas.

Starbucks should start banking | FT

What if Starbucks opened an online-only retail bank offering competitive deposit rates and a modest range of loans and mortgages? It could do that by partnering with a finance company such as ING, which has the appropriate banking licences.

All it would need to do is install ATM machines in its outlets, which would involve investing some money but would allow it to get more out of its existing branches.

National supermarkets in the UK, such as Sainsbury and Tesco, have opened retail banks and placed ATM machines in their branches, but there is no national grocery chain in the US with a comparable reach. Even Wal-Mart lacks outlets on most urban high streets.

I recall the brainstorming sessions in the 90’s at the bank, where the discussion about competition arose not from other banks but from:

  • Starbucks levering their distribution and cards as a bank
  • ebay or Amazon offerring a credit card
  • internet only banks – ING was on the horizon – mbanx and Wingspan already out there
  • whether to join the S1 online banking commoditised platform
  • offer an All in One account that pulled together lending and deposits into one account
  • how to deal with the role of aggregation- offer it, join it, or ignore it
  • bill presentment – same idea – offer, join or ignore
  • shift in business model from generalist to:
    • product (manufacturer) – offer loans and deposts through others channels
    • distribution (channel) – sell products & services of others – Open Finance (Forrester)
    • segmentation (customer type)  – focus on a niche market, although most interpreted as the generalist, all things to all market which is where most banks ended

Relevance to Bankwatch:

The problem today is that Banks are on strategy defined 6 – 8 years ago to bricks and clicks, focussed on customer retention and wallet growth.  Customer Relationship Management (CRM) became the strategy de jour.  Who would claim that has worked?  Seibel disappeared inside Oracle for a reason.

Banks are all on the same strategy, focussed on mortgage as the entree, and upsell with other services later.

There is nothing out there that aims at shifting the balance of share of market in a substantial way.  This is not about acquisition or mergers – we have done that, and “too big too fail” is too fixated in everyone’s radar now, or until capitalisation is fixed, in any event.

No, this is about business model shifts … shifts that would have a target of:

  • double digit percentage shift in share of payments,
  • extraction of share of deposits and payments from an existing industry (the Starbucks example),
  • exponential elimination of costs relative to competition
  • focus on what your are good at and eliminate the stuff you are not good at

Business models –

Mr Bank Chairman …  what is your business model, and how is it different than the competition?

Supplementary question –

Who is your competition?  Do you lost sleep over Citibank and Wells, or Tempo and Wesabe?  Does your answer worry you?

PS …  as I finish this post the most telling thing is something I have become acutely aware of.  The blog categories I set up 5 years ago no longer apply, until I do a retrospective post such as this.  Either those were really bad ideas, or ideas yet to come.

Intuit releases their iPhone app – is yours coming soon?

Jim notes the release of the Intuit iPhone app.  Last week we had the Wesabe app released offerring a stronger product and better competition to Mint.

In general it continually amazes be that banks are not leaping on this opportunity for a low cost, high visibility ad for their online services.  Which leads me to todays question de jour for bank executives:

Have you tried an iphone?

If not go to a store immediately and do so.  Whether you buy it or not, you will be left with the impression this is a game changing device, and remember the people who use them are vocal.  Then go talk to someone who does iphone apps and be prepared to be surprised at the cost of entry.

Anyhow, well done Intuit.

Written by Colin Henderson

May 2, 2009 at 14:42

RBC speak about convergence for EBPP and statements

The commentary here from Colin McKay, vice-president of e-business architecture RBC in this video interview, is refreshing to hear from a Bank.

RBC discusses client reporting and customer statements | IT World Canada

Some notes from the interview, then commentary and discussion:

  • Old process had product and IT groups generating 18 separate statements in different formats but most ending up in print
  • each statement feed was formatted specific to the output, eg, print or web
  • each of the 18 had their own processes
  • all 18 feeds have been directed to a common store, and stored as raw data
  • the 18 raw data feeds from the core systems, are now amalgamated into a “Common Composition Engine” (CCE)
  • CCE can output in any format to print, web
  • most customers do not read statements, so the current practise of storing all in PDF format is wasteful and inefficient
  • CCE will eventually be offerred on demand, and on request, this could be PDF on demand, or web on demand
  • the Customer Preference Engine will allow customers to aggregate the data of their choice, including marketing messages,and product messages into a customised statement in the format of their choice
  • uses Telephone companies as an example of information display versus statement format.  The notion of a statement is being challenged by the web experience, and is redundant for many customers
  • He speaks of Electronic Bill Payment and Presentment (EBPP) and social networks.  “people go into town and do multiple things, vist grocery store, hardware store, and the bank;  there is a desire to conduct multiple business transactions at social networks in the same way;  what we are seeing is a convergence”

Relevance to Bankwatch:

Great interview but that last point needs some discussion.  But first with regard to the problems of multiple products and statements, the solution to the problems all banks face is clear, and he articulates it well.  The notion of on demand and in the format and design by the customer makes sense.

The notion of a social network as being analogous to “going into town to conduct business” requires some thought though.  In the real world we have Wal-Mart with photo, bank, restaurant as well as their core service of merchandise.  We have malls, with a variety of stores and banks.  We have Main St with a variety of stores and banks.  Finally we have other cities and countries that we can visit to conduct transactions.  The nice thing about the web is that it can be all or any of those.   It seems to me if we use this analogy, that the town is the web, and the concept of malls, stores, banks, and big box stores are all sites within the web, exemplified as different types of aggregation or not.  An we can get to that web using laptops, PC’s or mobile.

Customers will gravitate to the methodology of their choice, but they will require help to visualise how that future might look.  There is scant evidence that Facebook is viewed by users as that place for convergence and aggregation, or the place where they go into town to “conduct business transactions”.

In fact the evidence suggests that people are avoiding those things that get in the way of their social interaction at Facebook.  My own observation is that the jury remains out as to a desire for people to aggregate financial information anywahere except with their FI.  I know this contradicts the general movements of convergence and aggregation on the web, but so far financial services have not been pulled that way by people, which is probably dirven by privacy, security, and identity theft concerns.

Having said that it is possible if RBC display how that might work in a safe secure and convenient and non-intusive manner, that customers will accept receiving their bills and reminders inside their Social Network environment, alongside their social conversations (but obviously hidden from the view of others).  Or is this more of a channel need?  Aggregation at the device level, ie PC, mobile?  In any event its a great conversation and the rioght conversation that RBC are promoting here.

Thoughts?  Do you want to receive your statements, bills and notifications elsewhere than say at the bank site, and in your email?  If so where and how?

Written by Colin Henderson

April 15, 2009 at 11:06

Monitise expands into the African growth mobile market

Monitise continues to grow, expanding into the African growth mobile market.

Monitise joins battle for East African m-banking customers, gets US$1.5m funding | Finextra

Monitise has been awarded US$1.5 million by the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) to help fund the launch of its mobile banking and payments service in East Africa.

Monitise East Africa will initially offer services in Uganda and then plans to expand into neighbouring countries, including Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia. The service will enable the provision of banking, payment and money transfer services by both banks and mobile networks, within the regulatory framework of each market.

Written by Colin Henderson

February 18, 2009 at 23:27

Posted in mobile banking, monitise

Tagged with , ,

Text to retrieve account balances

Very cool new feature from Mint.  Few banks have done this, and Clairmail offer this service, but with Mint customers can get it for any bank.

Text Mint to See if You’ve Been Naughty or Nice

Starting today, text BAL or BALANCE to MyMint (696-468) from any checkout line in America and we’ll send you the balances in all of the checking, savings and investment accounts you track in your Mint account.  Just think of it, no more embarrassing “your credit card has been declined” moments.

This typifies the disruptive forces at play and during these tough times, I would expect just as we saw following the bust, we will see more of these new services chipping away at functions that could have been implemented at a bank.  This will only serve to make the new services that much more appealing.

Written by Colin Henderson

November 19, 2008 at 21:48

Most prevalent consumer device – mobile | Google Blog

While it makes sense the statistics here are mind boggling.  Of course mobile applications are the future.  Note to Banks … we just have to get the application to suit the medium.  Think about this statistic – more mobile phones that credit cards.

The Future of Mobile | Google Blog

There are currently about 3.2 billion mobile subscribers in the world, and that number is expected to grow by at least a billion in the next few years. Today, mobile phones are more prevalent than cars (about 800 million registered vehicles in the world) and credit cards (only 1.4 billion of those).

The post goes on to offer categories for mobile.  Lets take those categories and apply to Banking.  Note that each suggestion has a geo-location element.

Smart alerts:

you are in city X and your bank account just purchased something in city Y

you are in the shopping district, and your account balance is low, but your credit card availability is good

Augmented reality:

your nearest bank branch

your nearest ATM

Crowd sourcing goes mainstream:

you are leaving your bank branch – prompt you to rate the service level

local employees that have a moment and can see you right now for account/ mortgage/ investment

Sensors everywhere:

line up wait time at the nearest branch to where you are

location specific offers at the nearest branch, eg local mortgages

Tool for development:

other peoples opinion today about the closest branch

The future-proof device:

online banking application auto updates to latest version

Relevance to Bankwatch:

This post should be a wake-up call to Banks.  We have no idea what mobile banking means.  It has nothing to do with viewing account balances and paying bills.  Get that paradigm out of your mind.  Its a mobile device, not a laptop.  Think geo-location.  Your phone knows where it is … do you?

Other brainstorm ideas welcomed here … thoughts?

Written by Colin Henderson

September 19, 2008 at 23:55

Posted in mobile banking

How can your Bank help with the other 95% of a customers mindshare relative to their money

After the previous post, thought I’d check out Andera, the service provider for those online account openings.

The graphic below from their site is the classic view to which all Banks with an integrated multi channel strategy aspire … ie almost every Bank.

Andera Corporate Web Site

The Andera platform offers financial institutions an end-to-end solution for online account opening and funding.

The Andera platform is accessible everywhere – to tellers, call center representatives, Website visitors, and more – on an on-demand, as-needed basis.

It got me thinking about whats missing in the picture. This picture [sorry Andera] is what bankers expect to see, but is dead wrong.

Relevance to Bankwatch:
The view above is 100% bank centric. It accurately depicts the activities customers undertake at the Bank, but those activities only account for what … 5% of the customers interactions with their money?

A more complete view would require not just web, branch and call centre, but also:

  1. debit card purchases
  2. credit card purchases
  3. spending pattern analysis and advice
  4. account alerts to mobile
  5. messaging between bank and customer
  6. new service notifications, and sign up or opt out
  7. bill payment and management
  8. etc etc

These items and the ones I missed account for the other 95% of a customers mindshare relative to their money. How can your Bank offerring help with that experience?

Written by Colin Henderson

July 30, 2008 at 22:25

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