Alumni News — Week of April 25, 2011

On April 27, Prosper gave 200 new lenders $104 to get started. The company is celebrating the news that prosper lenders are averaging 10.4% returns. http://bit.ly/finovate426111

American Banker on Yodlee and Geezeo growth in the PFM market. Yodlee grows French market, and Geezeo signs more credit unions. http://bit.ly/finovate429111
Author Jean Chatzky opens her Debt Diet Challenge to 5 Credit.com readers who are in debt. http://bit.ly/lDmZ54
Bank Innovations highlights six companies as noteworthy to see at Finovate Spring on May 10th & 11th in San Francisco. http://bit.ly/kqBr39
Bill.com releases site upgrade. The upgrade, made over the Easter weekend, includes improved calendar, a revised mobile application, receivables managements and online payments and more. http://bit.ly/finovate427113
BrightScope featured on TechCrunch. The post highlights BrightScope’s launch of advisor pages. http://tcrn.ch/finovate426113
Capital Access Network awarded prestigious award. The company won the 2011 Monarch Innovation Award from Barlow Research Associates. http://bit.ly/finovate425113
CashEdge’s Small Business Survey finds that small businesses want electronic payment solutions. http://bit.ly/kmC1lM
Consumer Reports integrates BillShrink’s recommendations into reviews. BillShrink has similar affiliate relationships with Walmart.com and T-Mobile. http://tcrn.ch/finovate426112
Credit Karma releases Credit Score Climate Report stating credit scores fell two points in the Q1 2011. http://mwne.ws/lnXZn7
Currensee makes Lead411’s Hottest Boston Tech Companies list second year in a row. See them at Finovate Spring. http://bit.ly/lmrLNK
H&R Block names former eBay exec as new CEO. http://buswk.co/ipszZa
Mengia signs with Icelandic banks, Arion and Landsbanki. Mengia will provide PFM services to both banks, which will provide 90% of Icelandic banking customers with access to an integrated PFM platform. http://bit.ly/finovate427112
Monitise launches Hong Kong mobile service with JETCO, which will help it break into the Asia Pacific market. http://bit.ly/kEEcCP
Stock Twits names Francisc Costello chief operating officer.  http://bit.ly/finovate429114
Tile Financial releases the “Spend Grow Give” app. Now available free in the App Store. http://bit.ly/finovate425111
USA Today covers BrightScope’s new tool for choosing the right financial adviser & informs what attributes to look for. http://usat.ly/msrb7l
Wescom Resources Group offers Geezeo PFM to clients. Wescom will be rolling out Geezeo as a complement to the Credit Union’s existing online banking platform. http://bit.ly/finovate425112
Xero releases Xero Touch, its new app built on HTML5 that will run on iPhone, Android, Windows7 and Blackberry. http://bit.ly/eLPrdA
Yodlee holds a mobile banking webinar on May 3. Attendance is free. Details online at  http://bit.ly/finovate427111

Alumni News — Weeks of March 7, 13 and 21, 2011

To view our alumni news updates in real time, follow us on Twitter

Andera adds its 500th customer. http://bit.ly/finovate322116
Bill Harris and Mark Goines join the Pageonce Advisory Board. Harris was formerly CEO of Intuit and of PayPal, and Goines was formerly a senior executive at Intuit and Charles Schwab. http://prn.to/finovate322111
Bill.com named to the JMP Securities “Hot 100.” The list includes the 100 best privately held software companies for 2011 according to the investment bank. http://bit.ly/finovate38113
BillShrink adds Anil Arora, Yodlee president and CEO, to its board of directors. The announcement comes just after the launch of “Statement Rewards” from BillShrink. http://bit.ly/finovate322112
Boku moves from virtual-goods billing to real-goods billing in Germany. Now real goods can be added to wireless bills thanks to Boku’s technology. http://bit.ly/finovate324112
Cardlytics wins Judge’s Choice Award in the 2011 Paybefore Awards. The Paybefore  awards are hosted annually by Prepaid Media. http://bit.ly/finovate38111
CashEdge signs Huntington for P2P PopMoney. http://bit.ly/finovate322117
Check out the Filene webinar with Thwakk on how to leverage financial education to increase youth membership. http://bit.ly/finovate322113
Columbus Water Works customers can now pay their utility bill via eWise’s secure payment platform. http://yhoo.it/finovate37113
Cedit Sesame closes on $6.15 million Series B funding round led by Melo Ventures. http://bit.ly/finovate322118
eToro launches “Trade Story.” This social platform helps traders learn the strategies behind other users’ trades. http://bit.ly/hQNDGc
Expensify is featured in Money magazine. http://bit.ly/finovate322114
Guardian Analytics raises $11 million. This is Guardian’s fourth round of funding, this time led by Split Rock Partners. http://bit.ly/finovate323113
H&R Block and Yodlee partner to make it easier to file taxes. http://yhoo.it/finovate3236
ICICI and Intuit partner on a Mint-like platform for India. http://bit.ly/finovate324113

Alumni News — Weeks of January 24, 31, and February 7, 2011

To see Finovate alumni company news in real-time, follow our feed on Twitter here.


Betterment and Mint.com partner for “set it and forget it” investment accounts. The accounts have no minimum balance. http://bit.ly/finovate210111

Bling Nation rolls out the “fan connect” platform in Chicago. The Chicago rollout is part of a broader national rollout to come. http://bit.ly/finovate210112

Cardlytics and NetSpend partner to bring reward offers to the underbanked. The partnership will create opportunities for targeted offers to reach users of prepaid debit cards. http://bit.ly/finovate28112

Cardlytics wins Red Herring Global 100 winner. — Cardlytics is a pioneer in in-statement merchant-funded rewards. http://bit.ly/finovate27114

CashEdge and NYCE join forces to provide person to person payment technology. Popmoney will now be available to 3,000 NYCE financial institution clients. http://bit.ly/finovate211112

ClairMail announced that revenue tripled in 2010. The company attributes the growth to the launch of their mobile connectivity architecture in early 2010. http://mwne.ws/finovate28115

DebtGoal launches OWEing.com. The new site acts as the flagship domain and provides a tools and content supporting debt reduction. http://bit.ly/finovate131112

eRollover launches Advisor Center. Ask retirement questions online in the new Advisor Center. http://bit.ly/finovate124112

Fiserv and WorkLight partner to make mobile application deployment and development faster. http://bit.ly/finovate125111

Frost and Sullivan names mFoundry “Entrepreneurial Company of the Year” in the mobile banking category. http://bit.ly/finovate121114

Guardian Analytics announces 150%  growth. The company attributes the rapid growth to the success of its FraudMap technology. http://bit.ly/finovate210113

Jack Henry’s ProfitStars.com launches new services to help small businesses accept online payments. http://bit.ly/finovate211111

Lending Club increased the maximum loan amount from $25,000 to $35,000. http://bit.ly/finovate27113

mFoundry launches standalone mobile deposit solution that can be implemented at a financial institution within 30 days. http://bit.ly/finovate28114

Intuit’s Mint and TurboTax team up to make taxes easier. http://bit.ly/finovate121111

Mozo launches Money Q & A portal where users can ask questions or answer questions posed by others. http://bit.ly/finovate211113

On Deck Capital secures $15 million Series-C funding. The funding round was led by SAP Ventures. http://bit.ly/finovate131111

Plastyc closes $2 million strategic investment from Core Innovation Capital. Core Innovation Capital is the investment partner for the Center for Financial Services Innovation. http://bit.ly/finovate28111http://www.silvertailsystems.com/

Silver Tail Systems announces the addition of a user-specific monitoring system. http://bit.ly/finovate124111

SmartyPig.com adds sixty new online retailer cash-back partners, and six more gift card partners. Expedia, Hotels.com, Cabela’s and Babies R Us are included in this latest offering. http://bit.ly/finovate131113

SmartyPig’s cash rewards card wins Paybefore award twice. http://bit.ly/finovate12112

The Receivables Exchange partners with Biz2Credit, an online loan-matching portal. http://bit.ly/finovate125113

Alumni News — Week of January 9, 2011

To see Finovate alumni company news in real-time, follow our feed on Twitter here
Backbase is holding an engagement banking seminar on January 27. — Attendance is free, but pre-registration is required. http://bit.ly/finovate114111
Blippy has been nominated for a Crunchie award. — The awards, given in a number of startup  categories, are a joint effort by three tech blogs: TechCrunch. VentureBeat and GigaOM. http://tcrn.ch/finovate113114
FeeFighters (formerly TransFS) has raised an additional $1.6 million in funding. — FeeFighters helps businesses comparison shop for credit card processing services. http://tcrn.ch/finovate113112
Fifth Third Bank will offer Popmoney from CashEdge. — Popmoney, an e-mail based money transfer system, will be available to Fifth Third customers in mid-2011. http://bit.ly/finovate110113
Firstmark Credit Union selects Geezeo for PFM platform. — The credit union, with  90,000 members with $700 million in assets, will use Geezeo’s white label platform . http://bit.ly/finovate1101
iBearSoft releases Money 5.0 mobile app. — The new release includes several speedups and new features. http://bit.ly/finovate1112
Jwaala offers free trials of the Better Online Banking (BOB) platform for credit unions. — The trial platform can be launched within two days of the request and allows prospective clients to see all of the available features. http://bit.ly/finovate113113
Kabbage raises an additional $6.5 million to support its loan business targeted to eBay and other online sellers. — This round was led by BlueRun Ventures and UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund. http://tcrn.ch/finovate113111
Kashoo users get a 30% discount on electronic tax filing with eSmart Tax. http://bit.ly/finovate114112
PerkStreet and Lending Club offer cash prizes for creatively shredding credit cards. http://bit.ly/finovate111113 or shredyourcreditcard.com
Plastyc and eBillMe launch a new banking system for self-employed users. — The platform allows users to receive clients’ electronic payments directly. http://bit.ly/finovate112112
SafetyPay signs deal with Brazil’s Banrisul. — This will allow Banrisul Bank’s three million customers to make purchases in their own currency by way of SafetyPay’s service. http://bit.ly/finovate111111
SmartyPig launches its first iPhone app. — Users can add to their savings,  manage goals and even contribute to another user’s goal. The app also includes a location-based tool to find participating merchants.  An Android app is planned for February. http://bit.ly/finovate110112
Tyfone receives a fourth patent for mobile e-wallet technology. — This newest patent, is entitled, “Asymmetric cryptography with user authentication.” http://bit.ly/finovate112111
The Mii card, powered by Yodlee, becomes a digital passport for online authentication. — See the Mii card in Action at FinovateEurope. http://www.miicard.com/

Alumni News — Weeks of December 13 and 20, 2010

To see Finovate news updates in real-time, follow our feed on Twitter

Backbase explores mobile banking in its fall webinar series. http://bit.ly/finovate1293

BlazeMobile creates smart payments sticker.http://bit.ly/finovate12133

BrightScope releases top 30 retirement plans. http://bit.ly/finovate12143

Capital Access special report on “Black Friday” and small business sales data. http://bit.ly/finovate1282   

SunTrust has added the “Transfer Now” product suite from CashEdge including person-to-person and me-to-me transfers. http://bit.ly/finovate12165

ClairMail and Cardlytics partner to provide transaction marketing opportunities. http://bit.ly/finovate1281 

Expensify is hiring for multiple positions. – The company is currently looking for Web developers and computer engineers at several levels. http://bit.ly/finovate1216

FIS launches innovative new mobile banking product. — Users can establish mobile account management with their debit card, no online banking signup needed. http://bit.ly/finovate1291

Geezeo selected by University Federal Credit Union as PFM provider. http://bit.ly/finovate12151

GoalMine hosting cash contest via Facebook to spread the word. http://bit.ly/finovate1292

Kapitall closes series A funding round. — The company did not release funding amounts or sources. http://bit.ly/finovate12163

Kasasa on “green” community banking. — See what a green bank looks like. http://bit.ly/finovate12132

Seventy percent of US Airlines have migrated to Kony Mobile-powered travel apps. http://bit.ly/finovate12142

Lending Club featured in San Fransisco Chronicle, Black Enterprise, and PBS. http://bit.ly/finovate12131

mFoundry deploys Washington Trust Bank’s mobile banking app. — This makes 260 customers so far using the mFoundry mobile applications. http://bit.ly/finovate12161

Congratulations to Mint founder, Aaron Patzer, winner of a TechFellow Award for General Management. http://tcrn.ch/finovate1296

Mozo powering new “Compare, Ditch and Switch” campaign. — The services allows Australians to shop around for better banking services.  http://bit.ly/finovate1283

Just in time for the Holidays, PopMoney gift cards at www.giftcardmall.com

SmartyPig launches cash rewards card with only a one-time activation fee of $4.95. http://bit.ly/finovate12134

Victrio receives $5 million investment for voice-printing technology. http://bit.ly/finovate12141

Alumni News — Weeks of November 28 and December 5, 2010

PopMoney (from CashEdge) wins award for excellence in Web design from the Interactive Media Council. http://bit.ly/finovate11301
Speculation from MarketWatch: Could ClairMail be headed for an IPO? http://bit.ly/finovate11306
ClairMail and Cardlytics partner to provide transaction marketing opportunities. http://bit.ly/finovate1281 
Expensify continues to grow its currency support base — Expensify is now supporting 159 currencies. http://bit.ly/finovate1232
Robert Scoble uses Expensify for expense reports. http://scoble.it/finovate11305
FIS launches innovative new mobile banking product. — Users can establish mobile account management with their debit card, no online banking signup needed. http://bit.ly/finovate1291
GoalMine hosting cash contest via Facebook to spread the word. http://bit.ly/finovate1292
This week’s Jem 5 at Jemstep explores diversified fixed income funds. http://bit.ly/finovate1294
Generations FCU goes live with Jwaala’s “Better Online Banking.” http://bit.ly/finovate1237
Just for fun: Kasasa releases banks’ playlists. See this week’s from Jeff Davis Bank. http://bit.ly/finovate1236
Lending Club enjoyed a flurry of news coverage. Read the summaries  here: http://bit.ly/finovate1224 
Lending Club mentioned in PBS nightly business report. http://to.pbs.org/finovate1297
Mint.com now available in Canada. http://tcrn.ch/finovate1234
Congratulations to Mint founder, Aaron Patzer; winner of a TechFellow Award for General Management. http://tcrn.ch/finovate1296
Monitise to bring mobile payments to Nigeria. http://bit.ly/finovate1231
Mozo powering new “Compare, Ditch and Switch” campaign to allow Australians to shop around for better banking services.  http://bit.ly/finovate1283
Just in time for the Holidays, PopMoney gift cards at www.giftcardmall.com
The new SmartyPig rewards MasterCard provides up to 10% cash back at select retailers. http://bit.ly/finovate11303
Tyfone receives additional patent for electronic wallet technology. http://bit.ly/finovate11304
Wikinvest is even more mobile with Blackberry and Android Apps. http://bit.ly/finovate1235
Y Combinator and Yodlee cooperate to provide financial data services to startups. 

Weekly Updates — Weeks of Oct. 25 and Nov. 1, 2010

From PayPal X Conference: Bill.com uses PayPal business payments to transform how businesses get paid. http://bit.ly/finovate10273 and gets a makeover. http://bit.ly/finovate10255
From PayPal X Conference: Bling Nation launches “FanConnect” platform. FanConnect helps consumers and businesses to connect at checkout via social media platforms like Facebook. http://bit.ly/finovate10272
Blippy and Sephora work together to spread the word about cosmetic products via Twitter. See TechCrunch’s story. http://tcrn.ch/finovate10271
Continuity Control and uMonitor partner for compliance automation. http://bit.ly/finovate11334
Dynamics Inc. is profiled in “the future of credit cards” in the New York Times. http://j.mp/finovate102510
From PayPal X Conference: Expensify announces support for expense reimbursement via PayPal. See a demonstration: http://bit.ly/finovate1142.
How Finsphere is helping to prevent identity theft with geo-location and mobile check-ins. http://rww.to/finovate10281
Ixaris partners with Apigee to create payment application development API platform.  — The new platform will be named Ixaris Opn (pronounced “open”). http://bit.ly/finovate1121
From PayPal X Conference: More on Kabbage’s service to provide working capital for eBay Sellers. http://bit.ly/finovate10276
Lending Club welcomes North Carolina and Kansas. Peer-to-peer personal loans are now available in 42 states. http://bit.ly/finovate1141
Mint.com launches MintData to delve into the spending habits of Mint’s 4 million users. The data is anonymous and provides insight into the pocketbooks of customers in 300 U.S. cities. http://tcrn.ch/finovate1122
From PayPal X Conference: Outright.com launches free accounting app in PayPal apps marketplace. http://bit.ly/finovate10274
Citi takes CashEdge’s Popmoney Service live. FinVentures breaks it down. http://bit.ly/finovate1123
The Receivables Exchange Co-Founder and CEO Justin Brownhill was named one of  Silicon Alley Insider’s “Silicon Alley 100.” The list covers New York’s “Coolest Tech People in 2010.” http://bit.ly/finovate11335
SafetyPay pioneers new ways to provide micropayments in the gaming industry. http://bit.ly/finovate10277

FinovateFall 2010 Demo Lineup Revealed

FinovateFall_wdate_web.gif

We’re very excited to reveal the 56 cutting-edge companies that have been selected to demo their latest technology innovations on October 4 and 5 in New York City at FinovateFall.

Over the show’s two days, attendees will get to watch the future of fintech and banktech unfold on stage via fast-paced demos (28 each day) from these innovators. And then have a chance to interact with top executives from each of the demo companies during intimate networking sessions.

Without further delay, here’s the list of companies we’re excited to showcase:

If you’re interested in attending the conference, registering now will save you $100 on your ticket via the early-bird discount and reserve your spot (space is limited and we’re expecting to sell out). We’ll see you in New York!


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Eric Mattson is CEO of Online Financial Innovations, the parent company of NetBanker, Online Banking Report and the Finovate Conference Series. He can be reached at eric@netbanker.com.

P2P Payments: CashEdge’s POPmoney Spotted in the Wild at First Hawaiian Bank

clip_image002When CashEdge demo’d its new person-to-person (P2P) payment solution, POPmoney, at Finovate in September (video here), they said they expected four clients to be live by year-end. It looks like the first one is there, or almost there.

imageFirst Hawaiian Bank has a lengthy POPmoney FAQ posted on its website (see screenshot  below). Pertinent details on the new POPmoney service include (refer to full text below):

  • Cost is $1 per transaction
  • Users can send money via email address, mobile phone number, or directly into the recipient’s bank account (if known)
  • Online banking customers will find it in the Transfers section under a tab entitled Send Money
  • P2P payments are limited to $5,000 per month subject to a daily maximum of $1,000 via email/mobile or $2,000 transferred directly to another bank account
  • Payments can be scheduled up to one year in advance

For more on the P2P payments market, see our latest Online Banking Report, published 15 minutes ago: Making the Case for Person-to-Person Payments

First Hawaiian Bank’s POPmoney FAQ (link; 8 Dec. 2009)

image

FAQ text:

What is “POPmoney”?
“POPmoney” is a feature of the FHB Online® banking service that lets you send money to someone electronically via their email address, mobile phone number, or directly to their bank account. Payments to someone’s email address or mobile phone number are accompanied with a personalized message letting them know that the funds are available for electronic deposit to wherever they choose, while payments to someone’s bank account are deposited automatically.

How much does POPmoney cost?
Sending money via POPmoney costs only $1.00 per transaction.

How do I sign up for POPmoney?
POPmoney is available to customers through the FHB Online service and can be accessed via the “Send Money” tab within the “Transfers” section. If you are not currently enrolled for FHB Online, visit www.fhb.com and click on the Online Banking “Enroll” button in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. If you are already enrolled for FHB Online, sign onto FHB Online, go to the Transfers section, and then click on the Send Money (Personal Only) link. Follow the three-step sign-up process:

  • Step 1 POPmoney Agreement – Accept the FHB Online POPmoney amendment.
  • Step 2 Contact Information – Your email address and mobile phone number are required as part of the sign-up process. You will need to verify the email address we have on file is correct. If it is incorrect, please close the window and click “Update Email Address” within the Customer Service tab to update your email address. After confirming your email address, return to the “Transfers – Send Money (Personal Only)” link and you will also be asked to provide a mobile phone number as part of the sign-up process.
  • Step 3 Email/Mobile Phone Validation – We will send verification codes to your email address and mobile phone. Please check your email and your mobile phone for these codes and enter them in the boxes shown on-screen to complete the sign-up process.

Once you’ve completed the steps above, you will receive a confirmation message indicating that you have successfully signed up for POPmoney. Click “Continue to POPmoney” to start using the service.

Who can I send money to?
You can send money to someone just by knowing their mobile phone number or email address. The person receiving the notification will be able to deposit the money to any personal checking, savings, money market checking, or money market savings account at FHB or nearly any other U.S. bank. You can also send money directly to someone else’s bank account if you have their bank routing and account number information.

How does the recipient receive and deposit funds?
If you are sending money to a mobile phone or email address, the recipient will receive a notification with a personalized message indicating that you have sent them a payment. The recipient has two ways of depositing the funds:

  • If the recipient is a First Hawaiian Bank customer, they can deposit the funds into their account via the FHB Online service. Upon enrolling, or if the recipient is already enrolled for FHB Online, they can click on the “Send Money (Personal Only)” to access the POPmoney feature. Any payments that have been sent to them will be listed under the “Incoming Payments & Alerts” tab. They can then select an account to which to deposit the funds. They can also designate whether future payments should be automatically deposited to this account.
  • If the recipient is a not a First Hawaiian Bank customer, or would like to deposit the funds into a non-FHB account, they can visit www.popmoney.com/FHB. They will be prompted to provide their mobile phone or email address along with their bank account information for the payment to be deposited.

Can I send money internationally?
No, you can only send money to individuals via their accounts within the U.S.

What is the maximum transaction amount I can make via POPmoney?
The maximum daily amount allowed for POPmoney transactions is the current available balance in the source account (plus any available credit in an associated Yes-CheckSM account if applicable) up to the daily limit mentioned below, whichever is less. This includes any single transaction or the total amount outstanding or “in process.” For additional information, see below:

Sending Money to Bank Account

Maximum Amount

Daily

$2,000.00

Monthly

$5,000.00

Sending Money to Mobile or Email

Maximum Amount

Dail
y

$1,000.00

Monthly

$5,000.00

Can I set up recurring or future-dated transactions?
Yes, POPmoney transactions may be scheduled up to 365 days in advance of the date the transaction is to be made. Automatic recurring transactions may also be scheduled for substantially regular intervals (e.g., monthly) in the same amount between the same two accounts. You can schedule recurring transactions to be made weekly, every other week, twice a month, monthly, every four weeks, every other month, quarterly, twice a year, and annually.

How far in advance can I schedule a transaction?
You can schedule a POPmoney transaction up to one year in advance.

When are POPmoney transactions processed?
Transactions will be processed on the date you specify up to a year in advance. Transactions will take approximately three business days to process. Transactions scheduled to process on a weekend or holiday will be processed the previous Business Day.

What is the cut-off time to submit a transaction?
The cut-off time for submitting transactions is 7:00 p.m. HT each Business Day. Transactions submitted after 7:00 p.m. HT or on weekends or holidays will be processed the next Business Day. A Business Day is every calendar day except for Saturdays, Sundays, and bank holidays.

What is the cut-off time to change or delete upcoming transactions?
The cut-off time to change or delete an upcoming transaction is 7:00 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time the previous Business Day prior to the send date.

When does the transaction get debited from my account?
The transaction debit request is initiated on the “send date” but will not post against your account for one to two days.

What happens if I set up a transaction but do not have sufficient funds in my account on the “send date?”
If, on the “send date,” there is insufficient balance in your account to make a transaction you authorized, we will delay the transaction and try again on the next Business Day. If there is still insufficient balance to make the transaction, we may either refuse to pay the item, or we may make the transaction and overdraw your account. In either event, you will be responsible for any non-sufficient funds (“NSF”) or overdraft charges that may result.

How many people can I add to my list of contacts?
You may add up to a total of 50 contacts.

I used to send money to third parties via the External Transfers function. What will happen to this information?
As part of introducing POPmoney, we have migrated your third-party information and activity from External Transfers to POPmoney. This includes contacts or accounts, as well as upcoming and previous transactions. Categories for previous transactions will not be migrated and will need to be re-defined.

How do I disable POPmoney?
You may disable POPmoney by calling us at 643-4343 (1-888-643-4343 from the Continental U.S., Guam, and CNMI). Please note that disabling POPmoney will also disable your access to External Transfers.

Bank of America to Eliminate Wire Transfers from Branches, Moving Volume to Online Banking

image When I logged in to Bank of America’s online banking Saturday, I was greeted with a pitch encouraging me to use the bank’s new online wire and electronic funds transfer (ACH) capabilities. Consumer online banking can now be used to move money electronically to most anyone in the country. Previously the bank allowed consumers to transfer funds only to their own accounts (funds transfer FAQs), either within Bank of America or at other U.S. financial institutions.

This is a capability offered by many major banks including Citibank, ING Direct and others, often powered by CashEdge. What I almost missed was the more interesting news in the last paragraph:

Beginning this summer, wire transfers will no longer be available in your local banking center… (emphasis added)

I haven’t been able to confirm whether this is a nationwide change or something that impacts only certain markets or customers (note 1). On the FatWallet forum a member reported seeing the same message Aug 1 on his account. Another member tested the service and reported that the fees were $3 for a 3-day ACH, $10 for next-day ACH, and “varied” for same-day wires.

The bank’s online wire transfer FAQs (for California) still point customers to online banking or their local branch.

What it means: When the nation’s largest online bank starts talking about reducing branches and takes steps to eliminate a traditional (and labor-intensive) branch-based service, you have solid evidence that branch banking growth has stalled (note 2). 

Bank of America login message (15 Aug 2009, 1:30 PM Pacific time)

image

Note:
1. I was served this message when logging in to my business credit card account. When I logged in to my Washington-based checking account (which runs on a different, and much less feature-rich system, than the rest of BofA), I saw no such message.
2. But not everyone agrees. Rob Cox and Antony Currie argue in today’s New York Times that the bank branch still has legs, in part because capital market financing has become more expensive, therefore elevating the importance of retail deposit gathering, a branch strength.