Friday Features: Mobile Order-ahead Cash

commenwealth_cardless_atm

The so-called cardless ATM has been around for awhile. I remember seeing one at the Wincor Nixdorf booth at BAI Retail Delivery four or five years ago. I thought it was a good idea at the time, but not something that would change my behavior. I mean, how hard is it to swipe your card and type in a PIN at an ATM?

But I’ve done a 180 and now think it will be a standard and widely used mobile banking feature (at least until we get cash out of widespread use). Two recent events changed my thinking:

1. I began using Starbucks mobile ordering. When I first heard about the pilot, I thought it would be useful for busy urban locations, especially Manhattan. But since we rarely have a line at Starbucks in our neighborhood, I didn’t expect it to change my behavior. But I was wrong and find myself addicted to it (the mobile ordering, not necessarily the coffee). When we were in San Jose earlier this month, I kept reaching for my phone to order ahead, forgetting it hasn’t rolled out nationwide yet. And it was a bit annoying. It’s just a better consumer experience to order from your saved transaction list, rather than reciting the whole thing at the counter.

2. FIS SVP Doug Brown gave me a live demo at a functional ATM of their Cardless Cash Access solution shown at Finovate two weeks ago (FIS demo video here). As with Starbucks mobile order, a small, yet noticeable, improvement in user experience can be detected. Privacy is improved, control is better, and login is easier. But the most important benefit is improved security. Instead of feeling vulnerable fumbling with a wallet or handbag at a machine, you just swoop in, scan the barcode, and the money spits out. FIS data from the Wintrust pilot showed that time at the ATM was reduced from 40+ seconds to 8 or 9 seconds (does not include the time it takes on the mobile app to order the cash). And as a nice side benefit, cardless access also removes the whole issue of ATM skimming.

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Other than in the Chicago area (FIS clients BMO Harris and Wintrust), cardless ATMs are not in widespread use in the United States. Some major rollouts around the world include:

But when it does come a bank in my neighborhood, count me in. In the meantime, it’s time to fire up the Starbucks app and order another Americano.

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Other mobile ATM demos at Finovate:
1. FIS first teased cardless cash access in a joint mobile-wallet demo with Paydiant, now part of Paypal, at FinovateSpring 2013 (video here; cash-access piece begins at 5:41).
2. PrivatBank launched a mobile-access-only ATM at FinovateSpring in 2014 (video here).

 

Mobile: Citibank Remains Committed to No Login with Newest “Lite” iPhone App

citibank_lite_app_frontFlipping through the top-100 iPhone apps in the Finance category, I noticed Citibank’s new Lite version at #90. It has been ranked as high as #31 in the past month (see chart below). In comparison, the core Citi Mobile app is ranked #14.

The app was released 29 March 2015 to support the Apple Watch app. But it’s more than just a watch app. It can be used by anyone who wants a simple, always-logged-in way to track banking and credit card transactions (see inset).

The app includes current balance and last 15 transactions (5 on Apple Watch) for checking, savings and credit cards. Users log in once, then the app stays logged in indefinitely. There is no transactional functions in the app, so the security risk is almost non-existent. This may appeal to certain security-conscious customers still wary of mobile transactions. Customers can log off at any time to protect their privacy.

The bank provides the same benefit with the Snapshot feature in its full-featured mobile app. So, Citi Mobile Lite may be a temporary workaround until the bank integrates Apple Watch support into its main app. But the bank may find a strong core audience for a nontransactional app and keep it around for many years.

The Lite app is not currently listed in the bank’s mobile banking section. The only way to find out about it is through the bank’s site search or through Apple’s App Store. Here’s the landing page found via a search for “Apple Watch” (see screenshot below).

Citibank now offers a suite of seven separate apps to U.S. customers: Citi Mobile, Citi Mobile Lite, Cit Private Bank in View, Citi News, Citi Velocity, CitiFX Pulse, Citi on Campus. Additionally, local Citi Mobile versions can be found across at least 18 other countries.

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Citi Mobile Lite ranking in Finance category of Apple App Store (U.S.)

citi_lite_app_ranking

Source: AppShopper, 27 May 2015

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Citibank desktop landing page

citi_applewatch_lander

 

Tuesday Tactic: Communicating via Mobile Updates

Here’s an unintended consequence of mobile banking.

I learn more about my bank by reading the description of the changes in its latest mobile (iOS) update than all other channels combined. And since I’ve downloaded about 100 banking and financial apps (and manually update them all), I read a LOT of mobile updates.

Very few financial service apps use that space to communicate creatively. Often, it will just be something terse like, “fixing bugs.” Now, I like succinct copy, but at the time of a mobile update, you have the undivided attention of your customer, if only for a few seconds. Use it! (though don’t abuse it).

billguard_update1While a number of web companies do a good job (Yelp, Redfin come to mind), the best financial services communicator on my phone is BillGuard (see inset). BillGuard not only spells out changes being made now, but also recaps prior major improvements, and reinforces their brand with a friendly sentence or two of often unrelated information. They also sign off each update with a real person and Twitter handle. Credit Karma and USAA have also recently posted interesting update information (see below); Citibank, not so much (last screenshot)

Bottom line: I know it takes extra time to get approvals for the “marketing copy” on an app update, but this is a great chance to improve user perceptions. And you can recycle that approved copy into other media as well (blog posts, email newsletters, employee training, etc).

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Mobile update examples:

billguard_update2 usaa_update2

credit_karma_citi_update

The Evolution of Mobile Weather Apps (and what it means for banking)

weather_buttons_iphoneIn 2007, I’d never used an Apple product. But I was one of the first to get an iPhone that year. I wanted to see for myself what the much-touted device meant for the future of financial services. While there was no banking in v1.0, I found myself enthralled with the weather button, my first taste of the elegance of a native app experience.

Fast forward (almost) 8 years, and the weather button(s) is still my most-used app (as you can see on my home screen at right with four weather choices). But in the face of fierce competition, even weather apps have evolved from being completely static to having a useful alerting functions. The Dark Sky app (screenshot below, note 1) hits me with a popup notification and jingle 10 minutes before it’s about to rain, which comes in very handy in Seattle.

Look at the schematic of the Dark Sky weather app below. Five years ago weather apps gave us the a simple probability of rain some time during the whole day. Now it predicts precisely the exact minute rain will start in my neighborhood. That’s a massive functional improvement.

dark_sky

Relevance to bankers
The evolution in mobile weather demonstrates the importance of transitioning from static information retrieval to active alerting. A good passive experience was fine for the first wave of mobile information (2008 to 2013/2014), but the best apps now go way beyond that now.

Let’s switch gears to money management. Your preferred banking/PFM app knows how much you’ve spent compared to previous periods, it knows how much you make and what bills are due before the next paycheck. So your money app can alert you, in real time, when you are bumping up to the last of your discretionary spending each pay period.

And while that’s a pragmatic use case, it’s also a negative one since the app keeps reminding users how strapped they are. A more entertaining use revolves around purchase recommendations. My money manager (Mint in this case, but it could be my bank/card issuer), knows I’m a coffee shop addict. The app could give me a heads-up when I was in the vicinity of a high-rated coffee shop. Of course, the recommendations would have to be highly relevant and focused, or I would just ignore (or turn off) the alerts.

Bottom line: It’s time for banking/PFM apps to be as smart about your money as Dark Sky is about the rain. I forecast a bright future for FIs that get it right.

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Note:
1. Dark Sky is so good, they actually can charge $4 for it in face of dozens of free apps (including the one that comes bundled on all iPhones).

20 Mobile Banking Landing Pages

image Last week, I caught up with the USAA folk to share thoughts on the future of mobile banking. They explained how they are converting visitors on the mobile web to their native app with a popup (interstitial) prompt (see inset). It’s the first time I’ve seen a bank use that desktop technique on the mobile web.

It had been more than a year since I took a tour of major banks using my phone’s browser (Safari, iPhone 5, iOS7). The last time proved relatively uninspiring. Several banks showed a mobile-optimized view, but most defaulted to their desktop-PC view which is unusable without tedious “pinch and zooming.” And no one pushed users to the native app.

Today, that’s changed dramatically. Of the 20 major mobile banking websites I visited, only one (Citibank) delivered a desktop-PC view (and that varied depending on which URL was used to enter the Citibank site). And four of the 20 pushed their mobile app heavily (and three more showed a download link to the app store).

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Recommendations 
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  • While there has been much talk about pushing customers to less-costly HTML5 and  responsive-design mobile websites, it’s still an app world (1 million and counting on iOS alone). And that’s not changing if Apple has anything to say about it. If you have a native app, make sure your mobile customers know about it.
  • Every mobile web front landing page should include a prominent link (above the fold) to your native app(s). And it’s not enough to simply show the Apple and Android app store logos. That’s too subtle for many novice smartphone users.
  • The call-to-action should list at least one benefit to the native app. Facebook, for instance, simply says, “browser faster.”
  • Test an interstitial landing page such as the one currently used by USAA. Users can choose “remind me later” to defer their decision to download the app, or they can kill the interstitial permanently by choosing “no thanks.”

Table: Mobile web default view from 20 major mobile FIs
Key: Native promo = Promotes native app
Mobile web = Delivers mobile-optimized view
Pinch & Zoom = No mobile optimization on main landing page, requires pinching and zooming to navigate

  Mobile Optimized View? Native App Call to Action? App Store link? Large Promo?
Native app promo        
Bank of America Yes Yes Yes Yes
Barclays (UK) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Moven Yes Yes Yes Yes
USAA Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mobile web        
American Express Yes No No No
BB&T Yes No No No
BECU Yes Yes No No
BMO Harris Yes No No No
Capital One Yes No No Yes
Chase Yes No Yes No
Fifth Third Yes No No No
ING Direct (Turkey) Yes No No Yes
Regions Yes* No No No
Schwab Yes Yes Yes No
Simple Yes No No Yes
SunTrust Yes No No No
US Bank Yes No No No
Wells Fargo Yes No Yes No
Pinch&Zoom        
Citibank Varies by URL No No No
GoBank No No No No

*Regions uses popup to provide choice of mobile view or full website

4 Amazon Fire Smartphone Features that Should Be Used in Mobile Banking

imageSeattle was abuzz today with the launch of Amazon’s long-rumored smartphone, dubbed Fire. Naturally, I look at everything through a digital banking lens. So here are its innovations that could be leveraged or imitated for mobile banking.

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1. Tilt to scroll
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imageDescription: Fire users can tilt or swivel the phone to navigate through an app. For example, on the Kindle app, users can advance the page by tilting the phone so they don’t have touch the screen every time you get to the end of the page.

Mobile banking use: Tilting would make a convenient way to page through transaction records. It could also be used to open additional functions such as tagging transactions or initiating a payment (e.g., Starbucks “shake to pay”).

Verdict: Until I get my hands on the phone, it’s a little hard to know how useful this feature will be. But it sounds like a nicely useful UI improvement (note 1).

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2. Mayday button
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image Description: Like the Kindle Fire, the Fire smartphone has one-button access to 24/7 video customer service with response time measured in seconds. Amazon calls it the “mayday” button. 

image Mobile banking use: Most mobile banking applications include telephone integration for a voice call to the call center. Instant video conferencing could be a good premium feature for high-value and/or fee-paying customers.

Verdict: While video customer support is not a killer feature, it has a nice ring to it when listed on your feature/benefit list. Certainly, banks should work on quicker response times for various types of products and/or customers.

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3. Unlimited cloud storage
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image Description: Amazon raised the bar for photograph storage, promising unlimited storage for all the pictures snapped from your Fire’s camera.

Mobile banking use: Unlimited cloud storage for all transactions and statements.

Verdict: I know your compliance team gets queasy when discussing long-term data storage. But it’s time to rise above all that and invoke one of the best customer-retention tools imaginable, unlimited secure storage of all banking records (see note 2).

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4. One year of Amazon Prime membership
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image Description: Fire smartphone buyers get one year of Amazon Prime membership free of charge. This savings of $100 covers half the cost of the 32GB phone ($199 with 2-year contract).

Mobile banking use: Premium channel

Verdict: Digital banking channels need an identifiable revenue stream to help pay for needed innovations and specialized services. A $4 to $5/mo “bank prime” membership program would go a long way in making digital a profit center (see previous post, note 2).

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Notes:
1. For more info, see our latest OBR Report on advanced mobile features (published June 2014, subscription). 
2. For info on fee-based financial services, see Online Banking Report (subscription) on fee-based online services (May 2011); paperless banking and online storage (late 2010); and lifetime statement archives (2005).

New OBR Published: The Rise of Mobile Banking

clip_image002Seven years ago we published our first full report on mobile banking. At that point, you could see that it would be widely used to access current balances and transactions. However, the broader services powered by the camera (remote deposit); GPS (location-aware alerts); and the audio jack (Square) were practically unimaginable back then.  

But now it doesn’t take much of an imagination to see that banking is best done on a smartphone. The screen size is perfect for managing the small amount of data needed to understand your current financial position. And the always-on, always-with-you device is ideal for handling issues that just can’t wait until you are home in front of your desktop computer.

So let’s no longer think of mobile as a support channel. It’s the other way around. Branches, call centers, and even online banking will support mobile banking, which is destined to be the dominant form of money management for the next 20 to 30 years.

Last month, we looked at a key missing ingredient in mobile banking, the new account application. This month, we look at the advanced capabilities banks must support to make the mobile UX superior to online.


About the report


image Advanced Features for Mobile Banking (link)
A guide to the important smartphone features coming in 2015 and beyond

Authors: Julie Schicktanz, Research Analyst &
Jim Bruene, Editor & Founder, Online Banking Report

Published 9 June 2014

Length: 44 pages

Cost: No extra charge for OBR subscribers, USD $395 for others (here)


Companies mentioned: ABN AMRO (Netherlands), Amazon, Apple, Bank of America, BBCN Bank, Blippar, BNP Paribas (France), Chase Bank, Cluster, Emirates NBD Bank, First National Bank (South Africa), Fiserv, Fitbit, Google, Greater Texas Federal Credit Union, Halifax Bank (UK), Isis, Malauzai, Mitek, PayPal, Pixeliris (France), PrivatBank (Ukraine), Rabobank (US), Royal Bank of Canada, Samsung, Simple (BBVA), Square, Southern Bancorp, St. George Bank (Australia), Starbucks, USAA, Verity Credit Union, Wells Fargo, Westpac (New Zealand)

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Report excerpt:

image

Apple Touches Off First Wave of Mobile Banking Biometrics

image We’ve known this day was coming ever since Apple acquired AuthenTec two years ago for $350 million. That was real money back in the pre-Beats/Nest/Oculus days.

Monday, Apple made it official at its annual developers’ conference: The fingerprint authentication system built into the iPhone 5S (Touch ID) will open to outside developers in the next iOS update (v8.0 expected in mid-September). That means that app publishers, including banks, credit unions & wallet providers, will be able to use it to provide initial authorization into a secure app. 

image The new feature was demonstrated on stage by logging in to Mint (see inset, screen cap tweeted by Bradley Leimer Monday). In the demo, Mint users are prompted to use the touchpad to open the app (the small type says, “Please authenticate in order to proceed”). Users are also given a password option.

Most likely, banks will use Touch ID, as well as other handset-resident biometric systems (note 1) to deliver “read-only” access to data. It’s an approach that’s been catching on around the world even before Apple’s biometric wizardry. Citibank is the most recent to provide a no-login glimpse in its mobile app (called SnapShot), rolling it out nationwide two weeks ago (press release). It’s also used at Westpac (NZ), Commonwealth (AU), Bank of the West, City Bank of Texas and many more (note 2).

For anything transactional, such as a wire transfer, banks will likely require additional authentication (see our Nine Circles of Security).

And of course, these security changes will generally need to be optional for customers until they become commonly accepted practices. Most users are still extremely wary of security on mobile phones, even though it is a marked improvement over the desktop (note 3).

While it’s too early to know if any financial institutions will have it enabled by September, one fintech payment provider, CardFlight, wasted no time, announcing support for Touch ID just a few hours after the Apple keynote (note 4).

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Notes:
1. Celent’s Jacob Jegher showed me his facial recognition login on his Android phone (Samsung?) at last month’s FinovateSpring. Very cool, though he doesn’t have it enabled since it slows up the login process just slightly.
2. Malauzai Software powers more than 90 credit unions and banks alone (post).
3. See our latest report on Mobile Security (March 2014, subscription) for more info.
4. Cardflight will be showing off its latest tools at our first developer event, FinDEVr, 30 Sep 2014, in San Francisco. 

Mobile PFM: Tracking Automobile Trips

imageLast week, MileIQ cracked the top-50 in Apple’s “Finance | Free” category. Think of it as Fitbit for cars, running in the background automatically logging all car trips (and killing battery life). 

At the end of each trip, users categorize the trip by swiping left for personal or right for business (see screenshots below). Users can also annotate transactions by “flipping” them over and typing basic details (see screenshot 2 below).

That’s basically all there is to the mobile part. Users go to the companion desktop dashboard (screenshot #5) to further categorize trips, stitch the various segments into a single trip, delete items, add parking and toll fees, edit the tags, manually add a trip and create reports.

You can also create a quick email report at the push of button from within the app (screenshot #6).

It’s free for 40 trips per month, but then costs $5.99/mo or $60 annually. It could make for a nice auto loan/lease premium item.

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Relevance for FIs
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This feature would be a nice, fee-based value-add for personal financial management (PFM) programs. But the more interesting aspect is the UI. Banks could provide a similar function for handling all transactions. Users swipe to the left to categorize a transaction as tax-deductible/business or right if not. Later, just the left-swiped transactions could be tagged with more specific categories (business travel, charitable contributions, etc).

This simple approach ever so slightly “gamifies” mobile-transaction processing, helping users save money and better manage their finances. 

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Screenshots
Mobile UI

#1 (left) Main page shows drive(s) to classify
#2 (right) Annotation available on the “back” of each drive card

 image        image

#3 (left) Congratulations for handling all transactions  
#4 (right) Pricing options

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#5 Desktop dashboard

image

#6 Quick email report, generated by button in mobile

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1. We’ve tackled PFM numerous times over the years in our Online Banking Report. Most recently here (subscription).