BillGuard Brings Email-Like UI to Mobile Banking Transaction Flow

image The ink wasn’t dry on my 2014 wishlist, when I got a message from BillGuard founder Yaron Samid, informing me that its new mobile UI was already doing what I’d most hoped for:

Wish #1: A Gmail-like priority inbox/feed for my financial transactions.

It’s as yet not quite Gmail-level functionality — for example, I’d like more tagging options than just “flag for later” — but compared to the state-of-the-mobile-art today, it’s pretty awesome. Thanks to BillGuard for getting the year off to a great start (note 1).

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How it works
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imageBillGuard aggregates credit and debit card transactions and flags suspicious items for review (see previous posts). So in that way, it has always acted like the Priority Inbox function within Gmail. However, its desktop UI looks more like a traditional PFM than an email inbox.

But for the smartphone, BillGuard has dramatically changed the interface. As you can see in the inset, they use “Inbox” as the name of the transaction register. There is even a red bubble showing how many new charges are available for review (see inset right).

The five primary items on the main screen:

  • Large green “card” >> Summarizes current month’s spending across all aggregated cards (you can also swipe through the individual cards)
  • Inbox >> New transactions and any that you’ve flagged for followup
  • All >> All transactions in a single infinitely scrolling list (I have 1,000+ transaction going back three years, and I can scroll through all of them in less than a minute). You can look at all transactions or just the recurring ones.
  • Analytics >> Month-over-month spending graphs
  • Savings >> Merchant-funded offers

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imageMore on the UI
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1. Inbox view (click screenshot for a larger graphic):

  • Transactions are sorted with suspicious and unknown merchants listed on top and new, unviewed transactions below
  • Users can choose the right “Follow Up” tab to view only those transactions they have flagged for followup (see #x below)
  • User can swipe the transaction right to move it out of the new transaction inbox, as shown in the green “Metropolitan Market” transaction at right

2. Transaction detail image

  • The transaction “card” contains expanded info on known merchants such as full name, location, and URL
  • There are three key buttons:
    A. Green checkbox to okay the transaction, removing it from the inbox
    B. Orange “followup” button to keep the transaction in the pending list for later review
    C. Small gray box in upper right with a number that indicates how many transactions you’ve had with this merchant; clicking it brings up the list of all (10 in this case)

 

image 3. Merchant offer

  • Based on my transaction history, a discount offer from Target is displayed; clicking the green button brings up redemption options, in this case:
    – Email offer
    – Shop now

 

 

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Notes:
1. The mobile UI was actually released in the latter part of 2013.
2. Screenshot at top of post is an iPhone notification.

Mobile Monday: Reminding Customers to Make Mobile Number Primary

image Now that mobile is on its way to becoming the dominant banking interaction channel, we are going to obsess on the nitty-gritty details this year, both here and in our Online Banking Report newsletter. 

First up: How to get better mobile data into your CRM. By now many (most?) readers do a good job grabbing mobile numbers during new customer onboarding. But are you doing the same with existing customers? And even if you have a mobile number on file, is it the primary phone number on the customer’s account?

Capital One 360 (formerly ING Direct) is reminding customers at login to take a look at their account info on file. And furthermore, the bank has added a small reminder to make your mobile number primary, if desired (see screenshot below).

Bottom line: Having the best primary phone number is a small, but important, part of servicing customers effectively. My only quibble with Capital One’s implementation is that the reminder is easy to overlook as it’s buried mid-page in a small font with a blue “i” graphic. A more dramatic graphical treatment would improve the results.

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Capital One 360 login reminder page (30 Dec 2013)

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Image source: Mobile First webinar by Ken Fang posted on Howto.gov

Umpqua Bank Launches Mortgage Sales Tool: Home Hunter

image Ever since I saw CEO Ray Davis speak at BAI in the mid-1990s, I’ve been a huge Umpqua Bank fan. But most of the bank’s notoriety is around its fresh take on the brick-and-mortar experience. But that’s not my thing, at all, so I don’t get a chance to write about them often.

However, today I was delighted to see a new mobile app appear in the iOS store called Umpqua Home Hunter. It’s a simple tool for house hunting. When a home buyer runs across a home of interest when out and about, they can open up the Home Hunter and automatically document the address (via GPS), then add comments, pictures, and a 1-to-5 star rating (see screenshots below).

There is also clever integration to Umpqua lenders. Users can forward the house to the lender of their choice to start the mortgage prequalification process (see third screenshot). 

Bottom line: While the app is pretty basic, lacking integration to home value databases such as Zillow, or MLS/Realtor services such as Redfin, it could recoup its development costs with a couple incremental mortgages every month. And even if it fails to do that, it’s a novel mobile service that helps position Umpqua as an innovator in digital, like they’ve long been in branch banking. 

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Users add a home details                    ….pictures, comments, rating

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Below left: Users have the option to send homes over to their Umpqua
loan officer to get the mortgage process started

umpqua_mtg_app.jpg

image   

 

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Note: For more on mobile banking and/or online lending, see our Online Banking Report archives (subscription).

BBVA Compass Bundles Microbiz Checking with PAYware Mobile Card Processing

imageI rarely get a chance to write about checking accounts, so I was glad to see the BBVA Compass announcement on the wires yesterday.

The bank launched a Business Mobility Bundle which has checking, mobile card processing and a free Galaxy Tab 3 Android tablet (wifi-only), a $200 value (note 1). It’s a soft bundle (note 2) of the bank’s existing e-Business Checking Account and its Merchant Mobility Pack, powered by Verifone PAYware

imageThe checking account is fee-free up to a certain level of activity (note 3). But the optional card-acceptance piece is $24.95/mo, which is waived in this promo for 12 months. The offer is not currently visible on the bank’s website, but a link in the press release leads to a landing page with the offer (see first screenshot).

Myimage take: The Business Mobility positioning is excellent, nicely tying two key business products together. The underlying accounts seem to be solid values, and the free Samsung tablet is sure to spark sales. 

However, my initial enthusiasm from the press release was somewhat tempered by the realities of the fine print (see second screenshot, note 1) and overall execution. For example:

  • No online application, it’s a call-me form (albeit a good one)
  • Mobile deposit is limited to $1,200 every 30 days
  • Both the free e-Business Checking and the 12-month fee waiver for mobile card acceptance are currently available on the bank’s website. There are no added benefits to the Business Mobility Bundle, outside the tablet premium
  • The free tablet is wifi only and sells for $199 online (it’s no iPad)

The offer is not currently visible on the BBVA website, even through site search, presumably so it doesn’t irk existing customers who cannot get the free tablet.

Bottom line: I like the promotion, although I wish the bundle had more features. For example, mobile banking pre-loaded on the Galaxy; customer service available via Skype; or even higher mobile-deposit limits for those using card processing (note 4).

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BBVA Business Mobility landing page (link, 30 July 2013)

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Fine print (positioned directly below the screen shown above)

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Notes:
1. Fine print: (A) New small business customers only, 1 per household/biz; (B) Must perform 10 transactions, not including intrabank funds transfers, within 30 days of account opening; (C) $100 minimum opening deposit
2. I just made up that term, but what I mean is that the customer is not required to add the Merchant Mobility piece to qualify for the free Samsung tablet. The checking account alone earns the premium.
3. Transaction limits before fees kick in:
– 50 items processed
– 2 in-branch deposits
– 5 processed checks and/or in-branch withdrawals
– $5,000 cash processing
In addition, mobile deposit has stingy initial limits of $500 max per item and only $1,200 max every 30 days  
4. The landing page could use more powerful visuals showing the BBVA mobile app and/or PAYware dongle in use.

Will mobile finally make PFM popular?

image In the online desktop era, we’ve seen only one direct-to-consumer PFM mega-hit: Mint (see note 1).

But looking at recent rankings in the U.S. Apple App Store (iOS) it looks like that may be changing. There are currently five specialty PFMs in the 13 most-downloaded free finance apps, including Mint of course. Is the mobile device finally what will make PFMs popular with consumers? Or are these apps just being downloaded by curious smartphone owners who will never register for the service, let alone become active users? 

My Take: Mobile is, and will be, a huge driver for specialty PFM apps. App stores help consumers find the services, and mobile makes them less daunting to use. But it’s not just the mobile platform driving usage at these four challengers (see below), it’s the way they have positioned themselves with tangible consumer benefits (e.g., save money by spotting fraud charges) rather than the nebulous (e.g., “manage your spending for a better life”).

Parsing this list a little closer, only Mint is positioned as a pure PFM. The challengers are all backing into PFM from various niches:

  • imageBillGuard (#5) is positioned as a fraudulent charge protector
    and accomplishes that through account monitoring. It appeals to
    those concerned about losing money to fraudsters and greedy merchants.
  • imageLemon (#7) is positioned around mobile wallets and payments, but it also offers account monitoring as a premium service. It appeals to early adopters wanting to use their smartphones for payments and all things financial. 

  • imageManilla (#12) revolves around billing and financial statements, but obviously aggregated bank and credit card statements is a core PFM feature. It appeals to those wanting better management of their mess of paper bills, receipts and records. 

  • imageCredit Karma (#13) focuses on credit scores and debt management, but recently extended into full account monitoring. It appeals to those wanting to improve their credit scores and better manage debt.

Because most consumers have no interest in looking at a bar chart of their spending, it makes sense to sneak in the PFM piece through more compelling, benefit-laden service offerings. For banks, all four of these approaches are worth a look. 

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Table: 20 most popular free finance mobile apps in U.S. Apple App Store 
Does not include several non-financial apps

  Name Primary Type
1 Capital One Bank/card
2 Chase Bank/card
3 Bank of America Bank/card
4 PayPal Payment
5 BillGuard (note 2) PFM: cards
6 Wells Fargo Bank/card
7 Lemon PFM: cards
8 Mint PFM: general
9 American Express Card
10 Scottrade Investing
11 USAA Bank
12 Manilla PFM: billing
13 Credit Karma PFM: debt
14 Discover Card
15 Citi Bank/card
16 Xoom Money Transfer Remittances
17 TD Bank Bank
18 Venmo (Braintree) Payments
19 Fidelity Investing
20 US Bank Bank/card

Source: U.S. Apple App Store accessed via iPhone 5 from Seattle, WA on Fri. July 26, 2013 at 11 AM PDT 

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Notes:
1. Not counting bank-branded PFMs from Intuit, Yodlee, Geezeo, Money Desktop, et al. And not counting the packaged-software stalwarts from the 1990s, Microsoft Money and Quicken.
2. BillGuard moved up to the #1 position over the weekend and remains there as of 6:00 PM PDT today
3. Check (formerly PageOnce) should also be considered in this discussion. It has been a top-20 finance app for the past few years, despite currently running in the lower 30s, probably due to its recent rebranding to an entirely new name
4. For more info, see the Online Banking Report PFM library (subscription required): PFM 4.0 (June 2012); PFM 3.0 (May 2010); Social Personal Finance (June 2007); Personal Finance Features for Online Banking (Aug 2006).

Tablet vs. Smartphone Mobile Banking Usage Data from Malauzai Software

image I’ve always been a numbers junkie, so it’s much appreciated when companies send along snippets of proprietary data to share with readers. I have a few more items in the pipeline, so keep your slide decks handy.  

Today, we get a look at tablet vs. smartphone usage, courtesy of Malauzai Software. The data is from June 2013 (note 1) aggregated across 99 smaller banks and credit union clients with 98,000 total active mobile users (note 2). Some user behavior is significantly impacted by the Malauzai-powered app’s specific design while other behavior is more applicable to mobile banking users in general (see the comments below from Malauzai).  

  • Login frequency: In June, 1.2 million total logins occurred across 98,000 active iPad and smartphone (iPhone/Android) users. Both types logged in at the same rate of 3x per week.
  • Login failure: Surprisingly, the login failure rate is higher on iPads, 27% vs. 15%. 
    Why? It is mainly due to “fat-fingering” as most users are successful on their second login attempt. Malauzai believes that tablet users are less comfortable with their keyboards.
  • Session duration: iPad users spent 50% more time per session (105 seconds on average) compared to smartphone users (70 seconds).
  • Logging off:  On the smartphone, 21% regularly log off the device vs. 80% on the iPad. 
    Why? It may be due to the iPad being more of a shared device in a family or household. Also, the logoff button is more prominently displayed on the iPad.
  • Internal funds transfers: iPad users made transfers valued at 2.3x that of smartphone users. The average iPad user transferred just under $900 vs. about $400 via smartphone. 
    Why? Malauzai speculates (although they do NOT have customers’ balance-data to verify) that iPad users tend to keep higher balances and therefore have higher transfer volume. 
  • Transaction history: Transaction details are used by 73% of iPad users vs. 37% for smartphones. 
    Why: Malauzai believes it is caused by the transactional data being more readily available on the iPad due to its more-prominent display and larger text.
  • Branch/ATM lookup:  iPad users look up branches/ATMs 3x more frequently than smartphone users. 
    Why? The Locator on the iPad UI is more prominent, more user-friendly and has bigger graphics.

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Notes:
1. Malauzai has been publishing metrics for five months; see previous months here.
2. Clients include Air Academy FCU, Ameriana Bank (see inset), Centier Bank, City Bank of Texas, First Financial, Greater Texas FCU, and Walden Savings Bank. See our most recent post for more info.

UW Credit Union is First to Tap the Mobile Browser for Remote Deposit Capture

imageimageThere are a few dozen financial institutions I follow closely for inspiration. And one of my favorites is University of Wisconsin Credit Union. The 180,000 member, $1.6 billion asset CU, always seems to be at the forefront.

Its latest feat: Remote deposit capture from the mobile web <m.uwcu.org>. That’s not a typo. Mobile deposit capture WITHOUT a (native) app!

UWCU is the first in the world (as far as we can tell), that allows smartphone users to deposit checks right from the mobile web (see the CU’s blog post for more info). The CU taps new controls in mobile browsers (iOS and Android) to operate the mobile camera to capture paper checks. Image processing and fraud detection technology is powered by Ensenta (with Mitek IP).

The in-house UWCU dev team so far has eschewed downloadable apps in favor of mobile-optimized designs that work cross platform. They are working towards full responsive design, so any user can visit the UWCU site from any size device and receive the optimal design, complete with touchscreen controls when applicable. They are targeting year-end completion for the full package.   

But as much as Eric Bangerter (VP Ecommerce & Internet Services) and his team believe in the mobile web, they plan to bow to member pressure and offer a simple native app so they have a presence in the app stores (note 1). As Bangerter notes in a recent interview at BankInfoSecurity.com, “Not being in an app store today is kind of like not having a Google (search) result.” 

Bottom line: I’ve been a huge believer in native apps. It’s how legions of smartphone users have been trained to access services (see note 2). Many normal people don’t even understand the “browser construct” in a mobile phone. That said, I see the logic in UWCU’s approach. Like most businesses, they must prioritize their investments. And now that the mobile browser can tap the camera (and GPS), it makes sense to push its mobile power users to the mobile web. But I’m glad the CU is also creating a lightweight native app to satisfy the rest.

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UW Credit Union’s mobile-browser based deposit capture in action (4 June 2013)
Note: Watch the full 90-second demo posted in the UWCU online banking blog, Source Code.

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Note:
1. The lack of a native app has seemingly not slowed down its mobile growth. The CU has 36,000 mobile users, an impressive 20% of its member base.
2. For more info, see our recent Online Banking Report: Digital & Mobile Wallets (published Feb 2013, subscription).

Mobile Marketing: USAA Embeds Preapproved Loan Offers within Mobile App

usaa_mobile_preapproved.jpg

Now that the U.S. personal credit crisis of 2008 to 2010 is in the rear-view mirror (but still visible), banks and credit unions are getting more aggressive with credit. And guess what new marketing vehicle is available in 2013 that didn’t exist five years ago? Yep, mobile this and mobile that.

So far, the sales component in mobile banking has been minimal. Generally, users must already be a customer of the bank and even pre-registered with online banking. And cross-selling? About the only thing you can buy remotely is an ATM withdrawal.

But that will change as more customers only deal with their bank and cards through mobile apps, a number that is already pushing 30% of the online banking base of Bank of America (see previous post).

Eventually, most financial products will be sold through the mobile app. Not convinced? Look internationally where mobile was a thing even before the iPhone. I still remember Bankinter’s 2007 BAI Retail Delivery presentation where they said 20% of their retail interest-rate swaps were done via mobile phone.

In the United States, we are starting to see banks pushing the envelope. USAA has been the leader in most areas. So no surprise that they are the first (that I know of) to place preapproved credit offers within their mobile app (see screenshots below).

In the bank’s Dec. 2012 update (see inset), it added the ability to:

  • Accept pre-approvals in the app
  • Apply for checking and savings accounts in the app
  • Apply for life insurance after getting a quote in the app

Bottom line: The power of the pre-approved credit offer is well known. Traditionally, snail mail has been the medium of choice. But that’s expensive, time-consuming, and oftentimes not delivered at the optimal moment. Delivering offers via mobile phone can solve all those problems.

And as an added bonus: The sales results will create a better business case for your entire mobile initiative.

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USAA delivers preapproved credit card offer within its mobile app (Dec 2013)
Note: Screenshots shown are from a customer with an existing USAA life insurance relationship.
Price disclosures (right screenshot) displayed after clicking “Rates and Fees” under “Accept Offer” (left screenshot)

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Source: comScore Q4 2012, Mobile Financial Services Advisor

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Note: We cover online mobile delivery and marketing in depth in our subscription-based Online Banking Report.

Metrics: Mobile Banking, Payments, Insurance and Investment Usage

imagecomScore is compiling a wealth of digital usage data, both for desktop and mobile (see previous post). And luckily, they have agreed to let me share some of it here (see note 1).

The following chart is financial services usage data across 230 million U.S. mobile phone users aged 18 or older (note 2) in the United States as of year-end 2012. It includes any type of financial content, secure or public (i.e. this is not limited to secure access by account holders).

The data shows that 62 million (27%) of mobile users accessed financial content during the prior month (Dec. 2012 figures). The vast majority of those (87%) accessed bank content. Credit card or electronic payments (e.g. PayPal) were each used by about half the segment. And brokerage or insurance content was accessed by about 20% of mobile financial users.

Observation: The banking numbers have been widely circulated, but I hadn’t seen recent breakouts in insurance and brokerage. Both were surprisingly high, especially insurance. If you assume there is generally one mobile financial user per household, that means that about 10% of all U.S. households are using mobile insurance info. Same on the brokerage side.

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Source: comScore, compiled Dec. 2012

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Notes:
1. If you have requests, drop me a line and I’ll see what I can find.  
2. Users of any type of mobile phone, smartphone or otherwise. Also includes text-message queries.

Fees: Regions Adds Time-Based Charge to Remote Deposits

image Retail bankers, we’ve had a sighting of that very rare bird, the North American Newfee. It was thought to have gone extinct in the fall of 2011, when anti-bankers shot down the last breeding pair, a malformed $5 debit card fee at Bank of America.

But surprise. Regions Bank has gone out on a limb and put a fee on the newest banking feature to sweep the nation, remote check deposit. And the bank didn’t settle for the standard per-use fee (in trial at U.S. Bank), Regions got creative with a tiered price dependent on how fast you want the money (see note 1 for exact wording):

  • Immediate >>> 1% to 3% of check amount, with $5 minimum
  • Same night (8 pm cutoff) >>> $3 per check
  • Two days >>> $0.50 per check

There is also a potential $1 additional fee to temporarily raise your daily deposit limit to deposit a large check.

My take: I think Regions is smart to add fee(s) for the huge value mobile deposit delivers, though I think it would be better as part of a feature-laden bundle sold on a monthly subscription fee (note 2).

But tiered pricing is a novel idea worth trying. And I like the three options. But its probably too complicated for new users, at least the way it’s presented in Regions FAQ (note 3). Also confusing matters, is the extra buck for checks larger than the user’s limit. It’s asking a lot for customers to decide among three options, especially when having to decipher jargon and timing rules such as "Funds are available during posting."  

image The multi-choice pricing scheme is an example of the paradox of choice. A theory (and direct marketing rule of thumb) that says you should keep choices to a minimum otherwise recipients become overwhelmed and just give up.

I think the bank would be better off starting with just two tiers, normal and expedited. Then introducing the third tier in v2.0 next year. 

But overall, congratulations to Regions for braving the unknown to see if this newfee has wings (note 6).

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Notes:
1. Here’s how the fee is explained in the FAQ:

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A somewhat better explanation is included on the mobile banking page:

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2. For more info on fee-based banking services, our Online Banking Report on fee-based online services (subscription, May 2011).
3. Hopefully, the choices are better explained within the mobile user interface, which I was unable to see.
4. As expected, the initial reviews from Apple app users are harsh. Currently the bank has just a 1.5 star rating on the new version of the app containing mobile deposit. Down from 2 stars previously.  
5. Sorry for the prolonged bird metaphor. Sometimes you get bored at the keyboard (keybored?). It’s also our second bird-themed post on fees. What’s that about?
6. American Banker: http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/178_66/regions-offers-mobile-deposit-for-a-fee-1058090-1.html?