Yes, Banks Can Compete with Apple’s New Credit Card

What’s in your wallet? Or rather, what’s in banks’ clients’ wallets? Some sexy competition appeared on the market yesterday, as Apple announced the pending launch of its own credit card in collaboration with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard.

The card is touted more for its mobile and digital qualities than its shiny titanium finish. Despite the shine, however, many of the card’s features and offerings aren’t new. And that’s good news for banks. While traditional financial institutions aren’t as sexy as tech companies such as Apple, they are generally viewed as more trustworthy. And with that kind of foundation, all banks need to do is piece together the features into their own credit card offering and market it properly.

Fortunately, there are plenty of fintech firms out there to help. Here are some of the features Apple is promoting and a list of corresponding fintechs that can help banks take the same approach.

Physical card security

Apple boasts a titanium card with the customer’s name etched on the front– no credit card number, no cvv code, no expiration date. All of that information is tucked away inside the app. Physical card innovator Dynamics takes a similar (though admittedly less visually appealing) approach. The Pennsylvania-based company offers a computer-in-a-card that hides part of the card number, the cvv code, and expiration date on the physical card until the consumer enters their PIN into the card. As an added bonus, Dynamics also offers in-card loyalty and rewards features, as well as a card that hosts multiple numbers, allowing customers to toggle between debit and credit cards.

Chat functionality

As a company that is known for simplifying technology, Apple is taking a similar approach with its customer service. “Have a question? Just text,” is the message the company features on its card website. Fortunately, there are plenty of fintechs that help banks simplify their customer experience. Two such companies are Finn.ai and Clinc, both of which leverage AI to save banks money on customer service representatives, while simplifying and expediting access to answers via a chat interface.

PFM

One way to win over customers is to convince them you’ll help them organize their finances and ultimately save them money. That’s why Apple is offering in-app PFM capabilities. And while the technology hasn’t changed much since it debuted before the fintech craze, the colorful user interface is beautiful enough to convince anyone to want to look at their spending behavior.

Banks have seemingly endless options to compete with this feature. And while most financial institutions currently offer some sort of PFM capabilities, it’s worth looking at it from a superficial point of view. Utah-based MX and Sweden-based Tink both offer visually-pleasing interfaces that are arguably more beautiful than Apple’s and are backed by powerful PFM engines.

Mobile app security

Apple’s iPhone holds the hardware for both fingerprint and facial recognition technology, and since the company is reinforcing its focus on security, it is leveraging biometrics for account access. With the right software, banks can leverage fingerprint and facial recognition technology as well. Jumio, IDology, and Mitek all offer technology banks can implement for fast account access, as well as account onboarding.

Fast onboarding

With access to consumer data, Apple has an advantage of being able to quickly onboard new consumers using existing consumer information. There are multiple fintechs that help banks onboard consumers quickly, as well, including Digital Onboarding, Q2’s Gro Solutions, and Fenergo. Digital Onboarding motivates customers to open new accounts using incentives and gamification. Gro Solutions touts the ability for customers to open and fund accounts in under four minutes. And Fenergo takes a holistic approach to onboarding, providing banks a lifetime view of the client to help perform data refreshes, ongoing due diligence, and upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

Rewards

Credit card rewards programs may seem like a feature of the past, but rewards are certainly still relevant. With its new card’s rewards program, Apple once again seeks to simplify things by offering consumers daily rewards. Two fintechs, Cardlytics and Cartera Commerce, offer tried and true loyalty and rewards programs. These offerings not only boost consumer loyalty, they also offer banks further insight and analysis into consumer spending.

Apple’s new credit card is shipping this summer. Fortunately for banks, fintechs are here to help them compete.

Q2 Acquires Gro Solutions

Digital banking solutions company Q2 Holdings boosted its capabilities this week with the acquisition of account opening technology provider Gro Solutions. This follows Q2’s purchase of Cloud Lending Solutions in August, making it the Austin-based company’s fifth acquisition since it was founded in 2004.Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“With Q2’s recent acquisitions of Cloud Lending and now Gro—combined with our leading, secure digital banking platform—we are delivering powerful solutions for the financial services vertical to provide exceptional experiences needed to keep pace with the high expectations of today’s account holder,” said Matt Flake, CEO of Q2. “Our acquisition of Gro adds yet another element that helps our customers reduce user friction, increase engagement in the digital channel and expand their offerings.”

Once the acquisition closes, Q2 will benefit from Gro’s omni-channel account opening technology, Gro Checkout, which CEO David Eads launched at FinovateFall 2015. Q2 will also boost its portfolio with Gro’s other solutions, including Gro Funnel, a set of marketing automation and CRM tools; Gro Business, tools for business clients; and Carrier Data Integration, technology that leverages information from a customer’s wireless billing record to auto populate data fields.

“As a combined force, we look forward to providing leading account opening, ecommerce and end-to-end digital financial solutions to banks, credit unions and other financial technology companies,” said Eads. “We are delighted to be joining the Q2 team and look forward to delivering best-in-class in financial digital sales and marketing solutions.”

Gro Solutions most recently demoed an extension of its digital sales platform at FinovateFall 2017. The company had raised $4.3 million since it was founded in 2015. Gro has been named a Fintech Company to Watch by American Banker and was recently awarded the TAG Fintech Advance Award.

Q2 debuted Q2 Biller Direct at FinovateSpring earlier this year. The company had 2017 revenues of $194 million, has 10.4 million end users, and 382 bank and credit union customers. Matt Flake is CEO.

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Gro Solutions Helps Vermont FCU Deliver Better Banking Experiences

Members of Vermont Federal Credit Union have something to look forward to when 2019 rolls around: the $500 million asset institution has signed a deal with Gro Solutions to enhance its digital offerings, including streamlined online deposit and loan account opening.

“Our goal is to create a world-class digital experience for our members with products and services that are fast, consistent, personalized, and user-friendly,” Vermont FCU Director of Business Intelligence, Nicholas D. Gallerani said. He referred to Gro Solutions’ platform as the embodiment of these principles, adding that the technology will provide the credit union with “the tools essential to create … great experiences in the digital realm for our members.”

Vermont FCU plans to introduce the new Gro Solutions-enabled services to its more than 38,000 members in the first quarter of 2019.

“More and more of today’s members are going digital for their banking needs,” Gro Solutions CEO David Eads added. “They want that experience to be quick and convenient, regardless of whether it’s in-branch, at home or on their phones.”

Atlanta, Georgia-based Gro Solutions demonstrated its Digital Sales platform at FinovateFall 2017. The company has been on a busy partnership-making pace this year, teaming up with Indiana’s Elements FCU ($1.5 billion in assets) in June, partnering with PeoplesBank ($1.7 billion in assets) in April, and working with Congressional FCU ($900+ million in assets) in March to streamline the credit union’s digital onboarding process.

Gro Solutions has raised $4.3 million in funding and includes TTV Capital, BIP Capital, BLH Venture Partners, and Croft & Bender among its investors.

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

 

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

 

PeoplesBank Partners with Gro Solutions to Enhance Mobile and Online Customer Experience

Pennsylvania-based PeoplesBank will rely on the Digital Sales Platform from Gro Solutions to implement its new online banking strategy. The bank sees the fintech’s digital platform as key to helping it provide a streamlined and mobile onboarding experience, reduce application abandonment, and provide a better overall mobile and online experience for customers.

Putting speed and simplicity at the top of the bank’s list, Communications and Digital Marketing Specialist for PeoplesBank Heather Noll said, “We really like the fact that with Gro our clients can open an account online in under five minutes. We want to give our clients the best experience possible, and we’re excited to be able to provide that extra ease of use for them.”  PeoplesBank plans to make the new Gro services available later this year.

Gro Solutions CEO David Eads underscored both factors in his statement on the partnership. “Reaching today’s bank customers requires not only a fast, easier digital process, but also the ability to fine-tune the details of their product offerings and risk profile,” Eads said. “We welcome the opportunity to help PeoplesBank fulfill that need for its customers and look forward to collaborating with the bank to support its digital banking growth initiatives.”

PeoplesBank is a Codorus Valley Company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Codorus Valley Bancorp Inc. the largest independent FI based in York County, Pennsylvania. Serving customers in South Central Pennsylvania and Central Maryland, PeoplesBank has more than $1.7 billion in assets and provides consumer, business, wealth management, and mortgage services.

Gro Solutions demonstrated an extension of its Gro Digital Sales Platform at FinovateFall 2017. More recently, the Atlanta, Georgia-based company, founded in 2015, announced a partnership with Congressional FCU ($900 million in assets) that will bring its Digital Sales Platform to the 47,000-member institution. Also this year, Gro Solutions teamed up with Michigan-area 4Front CU ($488 million in assets) to deploy its Gro Checkout solution. The company began the year with another Gro Checkout deployment, this time with $106 million Surety Bank based in Florida.

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Gro Solutions to Streamline Onboarding for Congressional FCU

With more than $900 million in assets, Congressional FCU has selected Gro Solutions’ Gro Checkout to streamline its digital onboarding process. A feature of the company’s Digital Sales Platform, Gro Checkout helps banks and credit unions better meet the expectations of mobile-first banking customers with a simple, intuitive, and friction-free application experience.

“Reducing friction in the application process lowers abandonment and leads to a better user experience, more potential members, and ultimately more sales growth,” Gro Solutions CEO David Eads said. “With Gro, Congressional Federal Credit Union can ensure a high quality of service via the digital channel, providing its members with a great experience every time, no matter their need.”

For Congressional FCU, the adoption of Gro Checkout will help the credit union better onboard customers in general and mobile-first customers in specific. By making it easier for customers to access specifically what they want, and only requiring the minimum necessary in terms of customer data, Gro Checkout can help the financial institution better serve and grow its 47,000-strong membership.

“When our members come to us through the digital channel, their needs can be varied, and we wanted a way to serve them that didn’t require them to wait or go through unnecessary steps,” Manager of eCommerce for Congressional FCU Devin Calef said. “With Gro, we can connect our members directly to the product they’re interested in, gathering only the necessary information along the way so it doesn’t slow down the application process, providing a smooth experience for our members from beginning to end.”

The partnership with Congressional FCU is the second major headline for Gro Solutions this month. The company announced earlier in March that it was bringing its Gro Checkout solution to 4Front CU, a Michigan-area credit union with more than $488 million in assets. “We sought a true, 100 percent digital process, and we’ve found it with Gro,” 4Front CU eServices manager Bryson Wilbert said in a statement when the deal was reported. In January, Gro announced that Surety Bank, a Florida FI with $106 million in assets, was implementing Gro Checkout in support of its digital transformation efforts.

Founded in 2015, Gro Solutions demonstrated an extension of the Gro Digital Sales Platform at FinovateFall 2017. The company has raised more than $4 million in funding and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.