The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Archive for the ‘Wireless’ Category

For Low income Un-banked | Emirates Bank to Launch Global Remittance Services through SMS Technology and Salary Cards

Mobile payments around the world continue to evolve more rapidly than North American or European Banks, with a few exceptions, are adapting to.

This example, form Emirates Bank in Dubai, is aimed at unbanked in the Middle East is a classic example. It is provided by a North American company.

Emirates Bank Group

In a pioneering effort to provide financial services to the thousands of un-banked people across UAE, Emirates Bank has signed an agreement with Infospan Inc, a California based technology company, to launch a unique global service that will enable users to send and receive money instantly around the world. Emirates Bank is planning to reach-out to a large, underserved and fast growing market offering competitive rates. The service will be available through a variety of channels including SMS, call centers, and ATMs.

Note the multi channel delivery including ATM’s.

Written by Colin Henderson

July 17, 2007 at 12:17

Mans best friend – Five reasons the Palm Foleo will fail ….

This is not a technology blog, but everyone in the business relies on portability for connection, with laptops, Blackberries etc. So it was with some interest I read last week about the Foleo from Palm, and decided to study it this morning.

Is it just me, or are Palm still operating in 1995 mode? i would safely predict this new device will be a total failure.

It’s an ultracompact computer with a twist. Palm is positioning the sleek clamshell device, which will sell for $499 after a rebate, as an alternative to carrying a larger, conventional laptop. It offers a nearly full-size keyboard, a 10-inch display, and comes with a selection of applications including a word processor and spreadsheet. But Hawkins believes it will be most useful when people also carry smartphones, like Treos or BlackBerrys (RIM), and transfer e-mail to Foleo when they’re in sit-down mode. “It’s a companion to your phone and companion to you,” Hawkins says.

Source: Palm Foleo

The device is tagged as a ‘smartphone companion’. Why would anyone want a smartphone companion? At first I have to admit their positioning sounded like there is no WiFi, but on further investigation, it seems to have WiFi. I love my Blackberry, but if I have my laptop in front of me, that’s what I am using.

So I thought i would run a quick comparison between the new Foleo, and my trusty Thinkpad X60s. This is not a Lenovo ad by the way – i merely seek the ultimate in portability, and wiredness (that’s not weirdness btw). I did not bother with a Macbook Pro comparison, because I cannot imagine any of those users being remotely interested.

Five reasons the Palm Foleo will fail ….

Foleo Thinkpad X60s
2.5 lbs/ 1.1 kg 3.5 lbs/ 1.6 Kg
Battery period – 5 hrs Battery period – 5 hrs
Limited software Office and all software
Cost $500 Cost $2,800
Linux instant on/ solid state memory Windows or Linux/ 2 gig ram/ 100 gig hd

The instant on thing is good, although I have the same benefit with ‘sleep mode’. I close the lid and it lasts for hours or days, and pops back on when I open the lid.

The most compelling feature is the price. But even a starving student will have trouble rationalising the lack of capabilities, and I would assume lack of configurability (non standard Linux) against that cost. The second hand computer stores all stock old corporate thinkpads, and I know one person using an X31 which ran him US $425.

And the weight gain is nominal – about the same as a bottle of water,

If someone could come out with a device that came in less than a kilo, and ran on normal memory, with a full operating system, preferably Linux for the small footprint, for $500 – that might gain some traction.

Written by Colin Henderson

June 3, 2007 at 07:58

Posted in Wireless

Wells Fargo announce a mobile service for their Wholesale & Treasury customers

Wells Fargo announce a mobile service for their high end commercial customers. This is worthy of mention given that the mobile world in Banking has been retail focussed until now, so this is innovative from Wells.

The initial version of the CEO Mobile service, made available to a small number of business customers on April 30, delivers key treasury reports through a secure browser session. Functions that Wells Fargo plans to add later this year include wire approvals, image positive pay exceptions, and administrative tools such as password resets.

“Mobile service makes executing financial transactions more convenient and flexible for our business customers,” said Megan Minich, who leads the Mobile Technologies team for Wells Fargo’s Wholesale Internet and Treasury Solutions.

Written by Colin Henderson

May 17, 2007 at 18:33

Posted in Wireless

Mobile Banking | a replacement, or a supplement?

Javelin anounce some new reports on the potential for adoption of mobile banking. While I agree with this statement from the press release, I think a nuance is missed here.

While consumers are better primed for mobile banking now than they were in 2000, financial institutions (FIs) should not consider the mere availability of mobile banking a guarantee of success. FIs should prepare for measured, rather than widespread and immediate adoption, even though consumers, handsets and mobile networks have made tremendous advancements.

Source: Javelin

Mobile Banking … the assumption is that online banking or ATM functions would be replicated on the mobile screen. With that limitation, certainly the uptake will be limited, and the tenor of the article makes sense.

What if we expanded the notion of mobile banking to supplement the customers experience, on the other channels. For example, account alerts when a bill is due, or an account balance reaches a certain level, or a payment at a store in an amount of > $X occurs.

I see mobile as a supplement to PC based online banking, and also as a back up in the event a PC isn’t handy. In short it will round out the customers experience into a truly integrated multi channel experience.

Written by Colin Henderson

May 15, 2007 at 21:34

Posted in Wireless

Bank of Stockton (16 branches) introduce Clairmail solution

Clairmail will be announcing implementation of their product with Bank of Stockton, in California. BofS is a 16 branch operation, and this is indicative of how smaller institutions do not have to let the big guys beat them on funtionality.

On-Demand Account Management – Bank of Stockton customers can check their balances, view their account history, and conduct transactions such as fund transfers.

Actionable Alerts – Customers can receive and respond to 2-way alerts for cases such as low balances or check overdrafts, along with the ability to approve or deny certain types of transactions.

I like this type of solution, because it creates stickiness, and enhances customer loyalty.

For additional discussion on the solution, and the strong security aspects, refer this earlier post.

Written by Colin Henderson

May 15, 2007 at 18:54

Posted in Wireless

Mount Lehman Credit Union – inhouse wireless banking system

Thanks to some notes in the comments Gene, on this wireless banking post, here are some details on a highly innovative approach taken to build a solution in house.

Whenever you use your MemberCard at an ATM or at an Interac merchant to purchase something, that transaction information will be sent to a cell phone in the form of a text message and that message will come to you very quickly. This is the verification that your MemberCard has just been used.

Source: Mount Lehman Credit Union – Personal Banking


 This is in line with another innovative in-house approach reported here, (this one by a Bank!) to build an online account opening system.

In general this is refreshing, re-assuring, and I hope the beginning of a trend.  If there are other examples out there, it would be great to hear about them.  Modern tools, and application frameworks provide enormous flexibility and while it they are faster and more efficient to develop than traditional java, and .NET, Bank security and IT standards ‘councils’ often resist, so there is a window of opportunity for those who can move quickly. 

Incidentally, while I do not know the tools used here for this particular wireless system, it will be interesting to note if we see more of this kind of thing being accomplished in-house.


Written by Colin Henderson

April 3, 2007 at 21:07

Posted in Innovation, Wireless

Clairmail and Telus partner to bring mobile banking to Canada

Telus and Clairmail announce today a strategic partnership. we first wrote up ClairMail, here last May.


I like their service, and it makes sense as a capability for Banks, to support customer loyalty.  

Online banking customers are more and more dis-associated with their own Bank unless cross channel activities are brought to bear, and this is an excellent example. It can be as simple as an account alert, notifying a customer that a debit of over $xxx was processed in their account using Interac Debit, 1 minute ago. But the potential is as limitless as the imagination, including out of band multi factor authentication for online banking, or mobile payments.

It also makes sense to partner with a Canadian telco, who is familiar with the Canadian environment, and in the case of Telus, who have experience working with Canadian FI’s online systems.

Novato, Calif.– April 2, 2007 – ClairMail, Inc., the leader in 2-way mobile phone-based customer interaction, today announced a strategic partnership with TELUS, a leading Canadian national telecommunications company offering advanced capabilities in systems integration and implementation, to bring the ClairMail solution to Canada.

Source: Clairmail & Telus

Written by Colin Henderson

April 2, 2007 at 07:03

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