Finovate Alumni News


  • “Fintech Developers, Lock in Presale Savings for the Very First FinDEVr in NYC”
  • “Q2 Acquires Social Money in $10 Million Deal”
  • Check out the latest developer news in this week’s edition of “FinDEVr APIntelligence”

Around the web

  • Employee Benefit News features Financial Guard in a discussion on the rise of robo-advisers.
  • Misys unveils its next-generation capital markets trading platform in the cloud, Misys FusionCapital.
  • CO-OP Financial Services to help credit unions deploy MasterPass from MasterCard.
  • ING expands its host card emulation (HCE) mobile payment service to all of its customers in the Netherlands. Join ING in London for FinovateEurope 2016.
  • Intuit partners with Fundbox to provide invoice financing for SMEs.
  • Delaware profiles Global Debt Registry.
  • Nostrum Group urges personalization in digital lending in new report on digital finance. See Nostrum at FinovateEurope 2016 in February.

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.

Oklahoma Employees Credit Union Posts Seven Specials for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

imageDuring the past few years we’ve reported on Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions at financial institutions (last year). ING Direct is the only large bank that has consistently used the post-Thanksgiving holiday in its marketing (see below) and we are glad to see it continue under Capital One ownership.

imageThis year we found another new entrant for our database of holiday offers, 42,000 member Oklahoma Employees Credit Union. It has a prominent black tag on its homepage announcing a "Black Friday Money $ale" (see first screenshot). 

And from the looks of it, the CU has created a pretty hot offer, leading with car loans as low as 1.49% with no payment due for 90 days (well after holiday spending subsides). But that’s just one of the seven holiday offers (second screenshot). The CU is also offering:

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday (Nov 23 to 26)

  • 1.49% APR* on New or Used Auto Loans 
  • 1.00% APR^ Off Unsecured Loans
  • Surcharge Free Gift Cards***
Black Friday to the End of the Year (Nov 23 to Dec 31)
  • 90 days no pay**
  • $149 Mortgage Loan Origination Fee^^
  • $49 Credit*^ with New MasterCard
  • 0.49%tt Business Loan Origination Fee


    Oklahoma Employees Credit Union homepage with Black Friday specials (Wed, 21 Nov 2012)


    Black Friday landing page (link)


    ING Direct homepage with Black Friday offers (21 Nov 2012)


    ING Direct Black Friday teaser page (link)
    Note: The bank does not reveal the actual offers until midnight Thursday



    Fine print on Oklahoma Employees Credit Union offers:

      *Annual Percentage Rate. 640+ credit score. Max term 60 months; estimated payment $17.31 per $1,000 borrowed. Min amount $10,000. Existing OECU loan min advance $2,500. Requires automatic payments and eStatements. 
      ** Borrower may defer initial auto loan payment up to 90 days. Interest will accrue from date of advance. 
      ^ Annual Percentage Rate. Reduction from regular earned rate as determined by credit score. 
      *** Up to 5 cards
      ^^ Max 12 years up to $250,000 and 75% loan-to-value as determined by appraisal or AVM. 
      *^ Initial transaction must be made by 1/10/13. Credit to be issued by 2/10/13. 
      tt Owner occupied commercial real estate. Max loan $500,000. Additional closing costs may apply. Normal lending policies apply.

      Capital One 360 Arrives in February

      imageContractually, Capital One had just one year to transition away from the ING Direct name and rebrand with its own creation. Last week, it announced the new name:

                       Capital One 360

      While I like the “360” thing, I’m a little disappointed they didn’t give it a separate brand, like NAB’s UBank. Here’s how the bank explains it to customers:

      Red’s the new Orange. Since Capital One’s colors are red and blue, our new colors are going to be red and blue, too. After all, we’ve got to make sure we’re color coordinated and lookin’ good for the family photo.

      My take: Most financial institutions are best served by overlaying their trusted name on all their initiatives. But given the provenance of ING Direct, a quirky independent anti-bank bank (though it was owned by a huge financial conglomerate), I thought this might be an exception to the rule. But I don’t fault the bank one bit for taking the lower-risk approach. 

      It will be interesting to see how Capital One positions the 360 brand long-term with its other bank and card divisions. image The “360” implies a full view of your finances, so I wonder if they’ll be dropping PFM features into the account soon. There are no clues on the bank’s “Our pledge” page (accessed via the blue button above the ball). 

      And long-time fans are wondering how much of the old ING Direct quirkiness will be maintained, if any. One promising sign, the landing page at <>, has a clever play on words along with an interactive feature that allows the user to “paint” over the orange ball revealing a maroon 360 one. Very well done.


      Capital One 360 landing page before “brushing” (14 Nov 2012)


      Capital One 360 landing page after brushing


      Note: Not that it really matters, but I was expecting the ball to bounce, as it used to on the ING Direct page, after the 360 was revealed.

      Can Savings Accounts Be Social?

      image I glanced at my ING Direct eStatement alert today (screenshot below) to see what they had to say in the new year. The soon-to-be-Capital-One direct bank is usually pretty creative in its copywriting. And I was not disappointed today. Here’s the pitch inside the alert:


      I love the idea of a “Social Network…of Savers,” a Facebook-like place where friends help each other keep spending in check and achieve politically correct savings goals such as the down payment on a home, the college fund, or a rainy day reserve.

      But I don’t think the Facebook model works in the real world (note 1). Even though it might be interesting to follow your friends’ drunk spending (note 2), most users want this info to be kept VERY private (note 3). And in most circles, money accumulation is never openly discussed. Who wants to read about someone’s “trip to Tahiti” savings goal when you are trying to get off unemployment?

      In its recent email, ING Direct is NOT looking to create the Facebook of savings in any way. While the bank celebrates savings throughout its marketing (e.g.,, this email offer isn’t about sharing with your network, it’s about selling to your network to earn a $10 referral fee per new account, up to $500. And that’s OK, because everyone loves to share “found money.”   

      ING Direct email (4 Jan 2012, 9 AM Pacific)

      ING Direct estatement email alert 

      Referral landing page (link)
      Note: There’s even a Flash demo of the referral split for the math challenged.

      ING Direct referral landing page

      1. I’m not saying that all sharing is a dead end. For example, sharing savings/spending goals can work very well within tight-knit groups such as extended families. And compiled/masked data about peer spending/savings is very promising (see Citi’s Bundle joint venture). Finally, there are numerous opportunities for “social investing” (our 2008 Online Banking Report on the subject), because it’s much more complicated and often openly discussed.  
      2. There is room for “social savings” in the context of sharing discounts, money-savings tips, and so on. But that’s not what ING Direct is talking about in this message.
      3. Hence the pivots by the two “class of 2010” startups, Blippy and Swipely, which were founded on a “transaction-sharing” model.
      4. And the bank makes its win-win. The new customer gets the biggest share, $25 for a savings account, a 70/30 split of the $35 up for grabs. New checking customers get $50, from an 85/15 split of $60.
      5. For info on family banking, deposit gathering, transaction sharing, social investing, and much more, see our subscription newsletter, Online Banking Report.

      Holiday Promotions at the Top-20 U.S. Banks

      Since I began blogging in 2004, I’ve usually run a year-end post looking at the holiday marketing efforts of the top-20 U.S. banks (links below). This year, only 7 of the 20 banks are using holiday or seasonal imagery on their homepages. That’s a decrease of 3 over last year.

      As usual, PNC Bank is the gold standard for holiday bank promotions, with its long-running (25+ years) “cost of Christmas index” which quantifies the cost of procuring all the items mentioned in the famous song, “12 Days of Christmas.” Following is a quick overview of the promotions, including a 1-to 5-bulb rating. 

      Previous posts: 2010, 2009 part 1, 2009 part 2, 2007, 2006, 2006, 2004


      Big banks in the holiday spirit
      (rated 1 to 5 bulbs)

      PNC: Christmas cost index

      • Cost of Christmas based on the song 12 Days of Christmas

      Score: imageimageimageimageimage



      Landing page: Amazing microsite, wonderful graphics, and slow loading (link)


      Fifth Third: holiday sweeps

      • Pay Your Bills sweeps with holiday graphics
      • Small ad with a card wrapped with ribbon which directs users to branches for “holiday shopping made easy,” presumably for gift cards, but neither the ad nor the landing page make that clear

      Score: imageimageimageimage


      ING Direct: Mobile usage sweeps

      • 12 Days of Mobile sweeps

      Score: imageimageimageimage


      Landing page


      Chase: sweeps and car loans

      • Winner Wonderland, credit card sweeps with one entry for every credit card purchase and 5 entries for every donation put on the Chase card
      • Add joy to your wallet, car refinance promotion

      Score: imageimageimage


      BB&T: Visa gift card

      • Small advertisement in lower right

      Score: image image



      TD Bank: Visa gift card

      • Small advertisement in lower right (below the fold on my laptop)

      Score: image



      Key Bank: gift cards

      • Very small gift-card promo, below the fold on my laptop and rotating with a half-dozen other items

      Score: image




      1. No holiday imagery on the homepages of BofA, Wells Fargo, Citibank, HSBC, US Bank, SunTrust, Capital One, Citizens, Regions, Harris, Bank of the West, Union Bank, Comercia
      2. Screenshots taken from Ft. Myers, FL, IP address, between 7 and 8 PM, 20 Dec 2011    
      3. Credit: Happy Holidays animation from

      ING Direct Read-Only Access Code for Third-Party PFMs

      Ceramic Coffee Cup with Silicon Lid (530)To my knowledge, ING Direct is the only major U.S. bank blocking third-party PFM access. But users can direct their PFM around the gate with a special "read-only" access code.

      How it works
      It’s not particularly easy to find, buried three levels deep in MyAccounts | Preferences | Access Code.

      The default setting is Blocked, as you can see in the first screenshot below.

      But once you find the page, it couldn’t be simpler to set up. Simply press the blue Create Access Code button in the upper right, and in a split second, you have created a read-only access code and opened your account to PFM access.

      To change back, you merely click the "Block" button in upper right.

      The only thing missing is an explanation of what to do with the Access Code. Is it the username or password? While that’s explained in an link from the first page, it’s not on the second page where you need it. (BTW, it’s the password).

      The bank also confirmed the new code via email right away (third screenshot).


      Access code main page (20 Oct 2011)

      ING Direct create access code page

      New access code

      New read-only access created at ING Direct

      Email confirmation

      ING Direct access code confirmation email


      Note: OBR subscribers can access our previous reports on security at (published in 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008).

      Out of the Inbox: ING Direct Provides Free Digital Magazine Subscription with Birthday Greeting

      ING Direct Happy Birthday Email Sep 2011I like it when businesses I frequent remember a milestone. Typically, it’s the anniversary of our first transaction or my birthday. I prefer the former, because it’s unique to the business relationship and less cliche.  

      Even though I know it’s just a bit of programming back at the home office, it still says something about an organization that they prioritized it over other pressing needs (like a new debit card fee, see note 1).

      Unlike retailers or eateries, who can give customers a free desert and more than make up the cost with profit from the dinner, it’s hard for banks to deliver a freebie that has actual value. Last month, I wrote about Discover’s month-long double points birthday bonus. That was a winner.

      This week, ING Direct came through with birthday present that has some perceived value. Delivered via email (see opposite) was a complimentary four-issue subscription to ODE Magazine plus a special issue devoted to savings. Granted, it’s only the digital edition (note 2), but it’s still better than nothing.

      The bank also throws in a 15% discount at its online store. A nice touch, but not a huge value for most customers.

      Landing page to redeem magazine subscription
      Note: Here you can choose digital or printed version (note 2)

      ING Direct offer landing page













      1. Actually, I’m pro debit-card fee. Why shouldn’t you charge for an optional-yet-super-convenient service that people use every day? I might have started out at $3/mo and bundled it with more value-adds, but even at $5 it’s about 17 cents per day for unlimited usage. So what’s the big uproar? Sure, it probably made more sense to have the merchants pick up the tab, but that got Durbined down the drain.  
      2. The landing page offers a choice between printed and digital. However, it’s not clear whether that applies to the 4-issue subscription or just the special savers issue.

      Launching: ING Direct Unveils $10 Million Campaign for Teen Banking

      image Just last month we published a report (here) about the large, and mostly unmet, opportunity to bank tweens/teens AND their parents.

      Evidently ING Direct didn’t need our report. The direct bank, soon to be part of Capital One, is launching an aggressive $10 million advertising campaign for its new MONEY account (note 1). There’s no official mention of the program at ING Direct, except for a wall post on its main Facebook page (see last screenshot).

      However, several online elements have been released:

      Product: There’s only a few sentences describing the product, but it sounds like a standard checking account with debit card access. It will have no fees and no minimums and can be managed online (duh) and through a smartphone app.

      Campaign: The $10 million campaign (note 2) is primarily fulfilled via Facebook (see screenshots below) and includes:

      • Advertising on Facebook and online
      • Supporting sweeps has (10) $1,000 prizes, (10) MacBooks, (20) iPod Touches
      • Those submitting pictures of themselves, may get it projected on a Times Square Jumbotron for 15 seconds (begins Sept. 15)

      Our take: With 1% rates killing its traditional value proposition, it makes perfect sense for ING Direct to build for the future by positioning itself as a place that caters to the banking needs of the entire family. Well played.


      1. ING Direct’s teen-banking microsite at (30 Aug. 2011)
      Note: In the lower right is a “pre-registration form” where the bank collects the name and email address of interested parties

      ING Direct teen banking microsite at (29 Aug 2011)

      2. Parents are encouraged to send a message to their children to let them know about the sweeps
      Note: The lower right contains a place for parents to send email messages to their children

      2. Parents are encouraged to send a message to their children to let them know about the sweeps

      3. Facebook page at <>

      3. Facebook page at <>

      3. Facebook page info page (Facebook app)

      3. Facebook page info page

      4. Facebook page sign-up form

      4. Facebook page signup form for ING Direct Money

      5. Thank-you page after pre-registering


      6. Wall post this afternoon on main ING Direct Facebook page (link, 30 Aug. 2011)

      6. Wall post this afternoon on main ING Direct Facebook page (29 Aug 2011)


      1. New agency Berlin Cameron is spearheading the effort according to today’s Adweek article.
      2. That’s about 40% of ING Direct’s projected $25 million media spend for 2011.
      3. Hat tip: MyBankTracker
      4. For more on teen banking, see our recent Online Banking Report.

      ING Direct Raises the Security Bar Again with Checkbook Activation

      ING Direct has brought a number of security innovations to the United States: 

      • Password entry via pin pad instead of keyboard
      • Trusteer “safe login” browser plugin (previous post)
      • Challenge questions at login (when needed)

        Now add a fourth item to that list:

      • Authorization required when a new book of paper checks is ordered (see update below)

      ING Direct, which famously eschewed paper checks when it launched a checking account, Electric Orange, in 2007, recently began offering a paper-check option. True to form, ING Direct added a few twists to standard industry practices:

      • Paper checks can be bought only in quantifies of 50
      • Each order is just $5
      • Only one set of 50 can be ordered at a time (but once they have been authorized, another set can be ordered)
      • Before the checks can be used, the book of 50 must be activated online (similar to credit/debit card authorization)
      • Because the order must be authorized, third-party paper checks will not work at ING Direct (another security improvement)


      How it works

      The bank isn’t exactly pushing paper checkbooks. There are no obvious links to the option on the primary or secondary navigation. Users must click on the Payments tab, then select Overview on the secondary navigation. That brings up a list of the ways to make payments, with “Checkbook” listed half-way down the page (see below).

      New paper-check option at ING Direct (12 Aug. 2011)

      ING Direct's paper check book option 12 Aug 2011

      And the bank’s order form is drop-dead simple, unlike most major banks which drop you to a third-party order-entry site.

      One-click check-ordering process

      One-click check ordering process at ING Direct

      Confirmation screen explains next steps

      Confirmation screen explains next steps


      My take

      Offering paper checks is a good move. Most U.S. customers still need the occasional paper check, and waiting 5 days for ING Direct to send one out on your behalf was slow and cumbersome.

      And I really like the authorization feature. Since I was old enough to know about check fraud, I’ve always felt that a book of checks sitting in my mailbox was a bit disconcerting. This solves that worry.

      Finally, the $5 per 50 pricing is consumer friendly and competitive. The lower quantity (compared to typical 150-200 orders) subtly discourages paper-check usage, but the price is in line with other financial institutions, which typically charge $15 to $25 per 200 checks (note 1).


      PS. ING Direct must be very close to launching remote check deposit. It has a “stay tuned” message posted under the “Deposit Checks” tab in secondary navigation (see below). 

      ING Direct’s website implies that remote check deposit is coming soon (12 Aug. 2011)

      ING Direct's website implies that remote check deposit is coming soon

      Update (16 Aug. 2011): I heard from Citibank today. Apparently, they’ve used checkbook authorization for online account opening since 2007.

      1. And you can pay more: Chase recently dinged me for $23 for a book of 50 money-market checks (which I didn’t ask for) when I opened a new business savings account. In comparison, I earned $0.40 (before tax) in interest on the balance. That means it would take more than 7 years to earn enough interest to pay for the book of checks. But I’ll give Chase credit for immediately reversing the fee after I dropped the unwanted checks off at the branch. 
      2. Apparently ING Direct changed its homepage navigation items earlier this year. The overall minimalist design remains unchanged. But now, in addition to View My Account, the bank offers three choices: Banking, Investing or Retirement. Previously, there were only two other choices: Open an account and Learn more.

      Is ING Direct to Capital One what PayPal was to eBay?

      image Given that ING Direct had to be divested (by agreement with the Dutch government), it couldn’t have gone to a more interesting buyer. Capital One was my favorite banking company in the pre-Internet days as it was an absolute direct marketing machine (and still is).

      But Capital One has not leveraged the Internet to the extent I’d expected and as recently as last November, didn’t even have a mobile app for the iPhone.  

      ING Direct is the opposite. Much of its 7.6  million customer base and $82 billion in deposits can be attributed to an innovative brand optimized for remote delivery.

      Will ING Direct’s online chops boost growth at Capital One like PayPal did for eBay when it introduced epayments into the online marketplace? Wall Street gave it a modest thumbs up, sending Capital One shares up more than 2% on a day when financials were flat. That’s a $0.5 billion positive swing in market cap. Not a bad start to the relationship.

      The combined entity will be the fifth largest U.S. bank by deposits (at more than $200 billion) trailing only BofA, Chase, Wells and Citi (table here). However, Capital One would need to acquire six more ING Directs to catch Chase, another one to reach the Wells level, and two more after that to best BofA. 

      My take: I’m not going to pretend to be able to predict the future performance of a $22 billion company paying $9 billion for another. There are so many variables, it makes my head spin.

      But from a remote delivery perspective, they look very complementary. ING offers primarily savings and mortgages acquired online. Capital One is huge in credit cards, auto loans and traditional branch-based banking services.

      So there is one prediction I’ll make: The combined entity will be an online marketing powerhouse, and I look forward to seeing how that unfolds.

      ING Direct Adds Phone-to-Phone Mobile Payments Powered by Bump Technologies

      imageI’ve always admired ING Direct’s focus on deposit accounts primarily sold and serviced through the Internet. While the bank has diversified into checking accounts, mortgages, and investments during the ten years since it launched, the core website look and feel is virtually unchanged (see 2001 version here). 

      So I was more than a bit surprised to learn this weekend that ING Direct became the second U.S. financial institution to add Bump-powered phone-to-phone payments to its iPhone app. PayPal was first, adding the feature more than a year ago.

      Bottom line: Evidently, with “high-yield savings” stuck at 1%, the giant direct bank needs to be a little more creative on the feature side to attract new business. While bump-to-pay will eventually be replaced with direct communications via NFC or other technologies, it’s a nice addition that positions ING Direct as a mobile leader.

      Bump is now one of two choice on the P2P menu on ING Direct’s iPhone app (2 May 2011)

      Bump is now one of two choice on the P2P menu on ING Direct's iPhone app (2 May 2011)      Bump is now one of two choice on the P2P menu on ING Direct's iPhone app (2 May 2011) 

      Bump is now one of two choice on the P2P menu on ING Direct's iPhone app (2 May 2011) 


      Note: For more info on mobile banking, see our previous Online Banking Reports.

      Out of the Inbox: ING Direct Raises Price on Overdraft Credit Line by 55%, Still Undercuts Competition by 99%

      image This has to be the best notification of a price increase I’ve ever seen (see first screenshot).

      ING Direct  (USA) famously does not charge OD/NSF fees on its checking account, Electric Orange. But that’s a bit of a moot point since the bank doesn’t offer paper checks, making it difficult to inadvertently go negative.

      However, the bank does allow overdrawing by few hundred dollars if you so choose. And it charges interest on those "overdrafts" at a variable rate equal to 4% above prime, currently 7.25%. The bank reinforces the no-fee pricing in its standard low-balance alert (see second screenshot below).

      But that low APR is heading upwards. Last night I received an email notification that effective May 15, the variable rate will be increasing to 8% above prime, or 11.25% today, a 55% increase. That’s still relatively reasonable for unsecured credit.

      But the bank’s email doesn’t focus on APR. After clearly disclosing the price increase, it lays out a comparison of what a $100 overdraft would cost the average U.S. consumer for one week, $31, vs. the $0.31 you’d owe ING Direct after 7 days. There are no other fees, transaction or annual, for the ING credit line (complete terms here).

      Well played.

      ING Direct email disclosing OD credit line APR increase (21 March 2011)


      ING Direct email disclosing OD credit line APR increase (21 March 2011)

      Overdraft notice (22 March 2011)
      The bank reinforces its no-fee policy in its email OD alert.

      ING Direct (USA) Overdraft notice (22 March 2011)