Alt-Biz-Lenders Kabbage, On Deck Capital and Capital Access Network Disrupting Business Loan Underwriting

image My favorite session at Money2020 Expo, the massive new trade show organized by Google Payments execs(see note 1), was about as far away from the buzzy mobile wallet and payment schemes as one could get.

I was struck by the potential of alt-business lending. The technology could have a more lasting economic benefit, at least in developed countries, than the transition from plastic to mobile payments (note 2).

The session included the three key alt-biz lenders who are leading the way in disrupting the massive global market in commercial credit (note 3):

  • Glen Goldman, CEO, Capital Access Network (FinovateFall 2010 demo)
  • Kathryn Petralia, Co-founder & COO, Kabbage (FinovateSpring 2012 demo)
  • Noah Breslow, CEO, On Deck Capital (FinovateSpring 2012 demo)
  • image  image   image

    Like most disrupters, the three are gaining traction in a narrow niche largely avoided by legacy players: sub-$250k non-asset-backed commercial lending. In total, the three are on track to do roughly $2 billion in total lending next year. While impressive, that’s not the big story. The disruptive piece is the technology the three use to underwrite the loans.

    They are redefining the borrower-lender relationship with real-time, ongoing electronic monitoring. Instead of borrowers providing static financials after the fact, these lenders have been granted access to the daily receipts of the business (via online banking), so the lenders know every day whether they should expand or contract the loan amount authorized. The lenders also get repayments frequently, sometimes daily, which helps reduce risk. 

    The result is that these companies are able to provide credit to businesses that are unable to get a loan elsewhere because they are just too small and/or the entrepreneurs don’t have the necessary personal FICO scores (note 4).

    Capital Access shared an interesting story on stage. Apparently, they were pitching their service to a very large U.S. bank. Capital Access had extended $245 million in loans to the bank’s customers which came as quite a surprise to the bank. However, when they found out the FICO scores of the biz owners were terrible (in the 500s), the bank said those could not be good loans. But it turns out the Capital Access loans had a 2.2% charge-off rate, bettering the bank’s rate on its “lower-risk” borrowers.

    Given that the short-term loans were made at rates of 15% and up, that is one massive chunk of lost revenue.

    I talked to Noah Breslow, CEO of On Deck Capital, later that night, and he said they are seeing huge upticks in demand, which they are now able to meet with much cheaper capital recently acquired from Goldman and others. He said their 10-month-old program looking at US Bank business-card declines was showing great dividends for all parties. And they continue to actively seek more bank partners which can participate in a variety of ways.

    Bottom line: I believe that eventually most business credit (from banks and others) will be managed with this real-time transparency into the borrower’s finances. It allows the lender to better price the risk, which assuming sufficient competition, allows more credit to be granted, at better overall prices. Banks, you don’t have to do this all at once. But at least start working with one or more of these companies to give your loan declines a second look (note 5).

    1. Money2020 organizers, Anil Aggarwal and Jonathan Weiner, are serial entrepreneurs behind payments startup TxVia which Google acquired this spring. Money2020 (v1) attracted more than 2,000 attendees to its inaugural 3-day event held in Las Vegas. It was an amazing turnout, which speaks to the interest in Google Wallet, mobile payments, and Finance 2.0 in general. Kudos to the team that pulled together a mind-boggling 300+ speakers across 5 tracks over 2 and a half days.
    2. And I’m not downplaying the impact of the mobile-payments revolution, which has the potential to save billions in fraud and waste while creating enormous opportunities with card issuers large and small in advertising, loyalty, and so on.  
    3. I should also commend moderator Nick Holland (Yankee Group) who fed the participants great questions.
    4. The lenders all addressed the small-business owner “credit catch 22.” Certain things that can lead to business growth, such as quitting your day job and maxing out your credit cards, kill personal FICO scores, even though they are exactly what the entrepreneur should do to maximize business results.
    5. According to CEO Glen Goldman, Wells Fargo is currently referring customers it can’t help to Capital Access Network.   
    6. For more info on small biz online/mobile banking and lending, see our Online Banking Report on micro and small businesses (subscription, published Oct 2009).

    Everbank Takes Gold in Change Sciences Ranking of Small Biz Banking Online Sales, BB&T is Runner-up

    Small Biz Banking Ranking from Change SciencesI’ve had a consumer account at Everbank since shortly after it launched in 1998. And I’ve continued to be a fan, both of the bank, and of its co-founder and product-guru Rob Foregger’s subsequent work at Personal Capital and others. But I hadn’t realized that Everbank excelled on the small biz side.

    Change Sciences, which quantifies and compares bank user experience in various verticals, ranked Everbank #1 in its just-published report (subscription) on online sales of small-business banking services.

    As you can see from the methodology below, Change Sciences is looking at the discovery and sales process for small biz banking, not the actual online banking experience itself.

    Everbank took first by a solid 3-point margin over runner-up BB&T. Most of the big banks were bunched just below BB&T. PNC Bank and US Bank were just a point lower and BofA was just two points lower. SunTrust and Wells also finished four points under BB&T.


    Everbank offers an extensive menu of business benefits via mouseover dropdown menu (6 Aug 2012)



    Note: Change Sciences methodology (from its website)

    Each site is evaluated (via desktop browser) against a series of criteria by a Change Sciences analyst. The analyst reviews pages and screens that are part of a critical user task. As the tasks are evaluated, the analyst does three things:
    • Looks for predefined user-experience characteristics and features.
    • Evaluates the page for ease of use or usability, and applies heuristics accordingly.
    • Looks for unexpected enhancements, which we call pleasant surprises.

    Tasks evaluated:
    • Getting a first impression
    • Learning about the bank’s approach to its small-business customers
    • Finding out about checking and lending products
    • Learning about online banking
    • Getting to apply options

    Launching: EFTGuard Provides $500k in Online Fraud Protection for Business Banking Customers

    image That was fast. Just two weeks after my latest appeal to the industry to provide small business owners with more security options, a new product launched today aims to do just that. And it’s packaged as a turn-key, fee-based service that could be sold by banks at a $10+ per month profit (MSRP is $25/mo).  

    That all sounds too good to be true. When I was first contacted by Greenway Solutions last week, I was more than a bit skeptical. But after speaking with CEO Jerry Tylman and Managing Consultant Jon Meyer, I was convinced they had something that as a business owner, I’d definitely buy.

    The product, EFTGuard, is a joint venture between Greenway Solutions and Royal Group Services. They say it’s a “win-win-win” for banks:

    • Helps banks meet “UCC requirement for commercially reasonable security and their FFIEC requirement for customer education and awareness”
    • Provides peace of mind to bank clients
    • Protects both the bank and each client up to $500,000 in unauthorized online transfers
    • Helps differentiate checking and deposit offerings


    How it works

    EFTGuard provides protection against fraudulent online-account withdrawals of $100,000 per account (with no deductible), with a maximum of $500,000 per customer. And because it’s not true “insurance” (it just behaves like it), there is no underwriting hassle and the product can be purchased in just a few minutes via online form (demo here). There is, however, the usual list of coverage exclusions; for example, it doesn’t cover insider theft. 

    The catch? To qualify, business customers must download and install anti-malware software from Trusteer, Iron Key, or Webroot. And every computer accessing the business account must be running these protective software programs. For the time being, that appears to leave out any mobile access. 

    Initially, banks looking to offer EFTGuard will need to work with one of these three malware-protection vendors in order to qualify their clients for the fraud protection. Other than that, EFTGuard is turn-key and comes with marketing support, a co-branded signup page, and full claims management.

    The $500,000 coverage is backed by Chartis Specialty Insurance Company.


    Bottom line

    Your business customers are rightly concerned about fraud. Offering them an option to protect themselves is a great way to differentiate your deposit offerings while preventing you from getting bogged down in messy litigation with your customers.

    I still have questions about how often the list of exclusions will invalidate claims when actual fraud occurs. But the company assures me that the protections are very real.

    Assuming EFTGuard delivers on its protection promise AND creates a small profit center, what’s not to like? I, for one, will be the first business owner in line to buy it. 


    EFTGuard homepage (24 April 2012)



    1. I believe insurance is one of the best growth areas in retail banking, especially in niche lines that can be explained and delivered online (see our December Online Banking Report for more about banks delivering insurance online).

    Target Fee-Based Security & Control Packages to Small Business Owners

    image A few days ago we published a new Online Banking Report: Delivering that Secure Feeling, arguing for the creation of fee-based subscription packages for those that need more security/privacy assurance than the typical consumer.

    What we probably should have made clearer is that this is NOT a product strategy for the mass market. It’s geared toward high-end, wealthier customers and/or businesses that have a lot more to lose if their accounts are compromised.

    The need for more security is especially acute for the small business owner, especially larger small businesses keeping five- and six-figure balances, sharing account access with accountants, bookkeepers, and partners, while making 100s of transactions per month.

    In addition, business accounts generally operate without Federal consumer protections, so fraud losses may have to be absorbed by the business, unless they can prove negligence by financial institution. Litigating a major fraud loss is an ugly situation that should be avoided if at all possible.

    That’s why it’s a win-win-win when a biz-banking client pays a fee for extra fraud protection:

    • Biz customers have fewer worries
    • Bank profits from the fee-based service
    • Fewer unreimbursed fraud losses save both parties time, money and potentially massive ill will

    Take it from this small-biz owner. For 15+ years I have wished for more security/control and would be more than happy to pay for it, really! (see note 1). Every single day I dread opening the multiple email alerts from my biz bank afraid that one day I will join the the small but growing number of biz owners that have had their accounts looted (note 2).

    Commercial customers have sophisticated tools at their disposal, but the smaller biz is often left using consumer-type controls. This is not how it should be.


    1. I’ve long said that I’d be willing to pay $500/mo for the perfect package of online business banking, payment, bookkeeping, and customer-management services. I stand by that statement (though I’d probably pay even more now that we have more international issues with the Finovate event). See our Online Bankin Report on micro and small businesses for more info.
    2. Here’s one of the paradoxes of more communications, more “worry events.” In the past, I would have only dreaded opening my statement once per month. Now I have that little pit in my stomach several times each day. That doesn’t seem right.
    3. Image licensed from Shutterstock.

    Kickstart Your Banking Community with Crowdfunding


    image If you read much tech news, you’ve probably heard about Kickstarter, or at least their most famous project that helped a budding entrepreneur make watches from iPod Nanos (above).

    Kickstarter is the best known (note 1) of the so-called crowdfunding sites where the Internet is invited to help fund new projects in return for recognition and/or a tangible good related to the project. Kickstarter focuses on the arts world, helping connect artists, designers, publishers, and performers with patrons around the world, who kick in as little as a $1 to help get a project off the ground. There are dozens of others focusing on other areas as well. 

    You're a Backerimage I used Kickstarter this weekend to fund publication of a new comic book called Steamfunk (screenshot below). I came across it when searching for local Seattle-area projects.

    My niece is a steampunk fan, so I thought it would be a nice surprise for her. I dropped $15 into its pledge drive, and assuming the artist Zilla Doty receives at least the $3,000 he was seeking (note 2), in April I’ll have a signed copy of his inaugural edition to send to my niece (note 3).

    Not only do I get a cool one-of-a-kind gift, I gain the satisfaction of helping a local artist get a project off the ground. Very gratifying.

    Bank Opportunity

    I bring this up, not because it’s a slow news day, but because I think leveraging crowdfunding could be a good way for community banks or credit unions to distinguish themselves in the local market. It would not be an easy project, getting people to part with their money never is, but it has the potential to attract new small business clients while supporting your community.   

    Here’s how it would work (note 4):

    1. Bank sends customers to a third-party crowdfunding site, which could be operated independently, or private-branded for the bank

    2. Bank publicizes new community projects via its website, blog, Facebook page, and so on

    3. OPTIONAL: Bank offers to match the crowd’s funding with a credit line/loan (if needed and assuming reasonable credit risks) or other banking services

    For extra credit: Integrate crowdfunding with peer-to-peer lending. 


    Kickstarter project page
    Note: This is how it looks after you’ve made a pledge

    Kickstarter project page


    1. According to Compete, Kickstarter had 750,000 unique U.S. visitors in Dec. 2011.
    2. With 20 hours to go, the project has easily surpassed the $3,000 goal. 175 backers have pledged almost $5,000.
    3. The pledge process is very smooth. Payment is made when you make the pledge and fulfilled through Amazon Payments. If the project fails to reach 100% funding by the end date, you get your money refunded. According to the company, 90% of the projects who make it past the 25%-funded mark end up with 100% funding. That’s an amazing stat.
    4. No, I don’t have a clue what objections you might get from compliance, but I’ll bet it will be an interesting conversation.
    5. We haven’t written specifically about crowdfunding at Online Banking Report, but we’ve covered P2P lending and small biz banking services.

    Chase Bank’s Jot App Shows the Future of Mobile Transaction Processing

    image image I’ve been waiting for something like Chase Bank’s Jot (see note 1). It’s part of the "second wave" of mobile apps that demonstrate why mobile banking will soon be better than online banking.

    Mobile banking phase 1: 2008 through 2011

    Mobile’s first wave was all about porting the most-used online functions, balance inquiry and statement viewing, to a smaller screen. That was convenient for smartphone owners on the go, but it didn’t add much to the overall user experience. 

    The test of whether you’ve nailed the mobile UX is if that even if you are within arm’s reach of your laptop, you still pick up the mobile to perform a function. Most mobile banking systems fail that test, i.e. you only use mobile banking when online access is inconvenient or insecure.

    Mobile banking phase 2: 2011+

    The second wave is much more interesting. Your mobile phone can do financial chores that simply cannot be accomplished online, for example:

    • Deposit a paper check via mobile camera (USAA, Chase, PayPal and many more)
    • Transfer money to your friend by "bumping" phones (PayPal, ING Direct)
    • Alert you to special merchant offers in your exact location that are redeemable simply by using your bankcard (BankOns)
    • Pay your bill automatically by scanning the billing statement (Mitek)
    • Upload paper receipts and append them to expense reports (Expensify)

    And the latest addition to that list:

    • Receive feed of transactions and tag them with categories for future reference and reporting (Chase Jot)


    How Jot works

    Chase’s new app (announced 1 June 2011) may not be as cool as remotely depositing a check, but it’s much more useful for most cardholders. The iPhone and Android app, which is currently available only for the bank’s Ink business credit card, sends push notifications of each transaction (see inset) and enables users to (relatively) quickly append transactions with category information, i.e. "tag" transactions. 

    image One key Jot feature, missing in most mobile banking services, is a running list of the transactions waiting to be tagged (see right).

    That way, when the business owner has a few spare moments, they can quickly get caught up with their categorizing work. This ongoing attention will reduce the quarterly game of "what’s that transaction" played when finalizing the company books.

    So not only does Jot save time, it potentially improves the quality of the accounting data, always a good thing for business management. 

    The app also includes other business credit card management functions such as basic reports by tag, the ability to change employee credit limits, and info on outstanding balances and payment due dates.

    While the functionality is still pretty basic (e.g., there is no way to add more than one tag to a transaction), there are only 60 days of transactions available, and login needs to be simplified, overall Jot is a winner. We are tagging it with an A-.


    1. The Jot landing page is well done and includes a series of four short demo videos.
    2. For OBR subscribers, see our previous Online Banking Reports on mobile banking and payments.

    Out of the Inbox: Chase Invites Business Clients to a Free Webinar with Google

    imageOn the one hand, it’s easy for a bank to get the attention of business clients and prospects. Just announce a streamlined commercial loan-app process. But since that’s unlikely to happen in the wake of the Financial Meltdown, a Webinar with Google is a pretty solid Plan B.

    Chase has a winning effort here. The topic, 7 ways to sell online, is so compelling that Google is tossing in a $100 AdWords credit for attendees (see note). And it never hurts to associate with a powerful and well-regarded Internet brand.  

    The email design is good with an interesting subject line, an email to ask questions, and a big green button for the call-to- action. The copy is a bit predictable, but it’s short and to-the-point and doesn’t distract. There are small quibbles regarding design-layout; perhaps, a Gmail issue; and they forgot to capitalize the W in AdWords, but those are minor glitches.    

    Grade: A-

    Chase email to existing business clients (6 May, 10:33 AM, Pacific)

    Chase Email to Existing Business Clients announcing webinar with google

    Landing page hosted by Google and co-branded with Chase (link)

    Registration page hosted by Google and co-branded with Chase 


    1. Google usually offers the $100 only to new clients, but I don’t seen any fine print limiting the bonus. I hope they don’t add a restriction after the fact, which could negate the positive energy Chase generates from the Webinar offer.
    2. For more info on the space, see Online Banking Report: Micro- and Small Business Online Banking (published Oct. 2009)

    Chase Bank Plays the Ecommerce Card: Offers $100 Bonus for its "Instant Storefront" Solution

    image Chase Bank is aggressively pushing its latest small biz initiative, Instant Storefront, billed as a way for old-school “9 to 5” businesses to sell online 24/7. Here’s where I ran across it last week: 

    • A radio ad a few days ago (in Seattle)
    • Full-page ad in the San Francisco Business Times (p. 24 of March 25-31 issue)
    • On the main account management page within online banking
    • Small ad on Chase’s business banking public page today (see last screenshot, note 1)
    • Email yesterday offering a $100 bonus to give it a try (see first screenshot, note 2). 

    The email is short and sweet with a good subject line and appealing design. The green button leads to a landing page with more info (second screenshot). The page includes an old-school, and very effective lead-gen technique, offering to email the $100 coupon to interested visitors (third screenshot).

    The cost is $30 per month, and the bank throws in a $350 POS terminal and waives $150 in startup fees for new Chase Paymentech merchant customers.

    To redeem the offer, customers must visit with a business banking specialist in a Chase Branch. Ecommerce website development seems like a bit of a stretch for a business banker to be conversant with, but hopefully it’s very turn-key. And I like how the service positions Chase as an online partner to small biz, so it may be a brilliant branding tool.

    Using a browser with cookies removed (note 1), I don’t see any mention of the new service on Chase’s website and searching for “storefront” in its site search returns nothing (note 3). So Instant Storefront may be a western market test.


    Chase Bank email to business customers about Instant Storefront (30 March 2011)

    Chase Bank email to business customers about Instant Storefront (30 March 2011)

    Landing page for Instant Storefront (link)

    Landing page for Instant Storefronts

    Lead-gen page where users enter their email address to get the $100 coupon

    Chase Lead-gen page where users enter their email address to get the $100 coupon

    Chase public business banking site (with Washington state customer cookie)

    Chase public business banking site (with Washington state customer cookie)

    1. The ad appears only on the browser I use to access my Chase account. On browser with cookies disabled, I do not see the Instant Storefront ad.
    2. The print and radio ads also offer the $100 bonus.
    3. The bank uses the URL: in its radio ad.
    4. For more info, see Online Banking Report: Micro- and Small Business Online Banking (published Oct. 2009)

    Launching: Balance Financial Introduces Hybrid Billpay/PFM/Bookkeeper

    image Internet-enabling every service and device on the planet creates fascinating new business opportunities. And we are seeing our share of them in the fintech space (note 1). Knowing how to deliver the proper blend of personal service and automation is an area of extreme importance to financial institutions: The optimal solution varies by customer, by product, and even by time of day.

    One relatively neglected area involves premium services that offer state-of-the-art tech married to specialized human service, for a fee. Large banks have private banking departments that handle the bills and day-to-day finances of households with millions in assets. But those that fall outside the private banking threshold are generally offered free, self-service tools available to everyone.

    Back when only 10% to 20% of households were online, that distinction was necessary. But now that 60% to 70% or even more of a bank’s households use the Internet, there are enough customers to slice and dice financial management services into a variety of offerings and price points. There’s a lot of revenue available for service offerings in the wide range between free and private banking.

    Enter the newest player in high-end bill payment: Balance Financial, an angel-funded company based in Seattle that launched its new service this week. CEO Devin Miller was also involved in the launch of one of our favorites new services of 2010, Finsphere’s PinPoint mobile location-aware fraud-alert service (previous post).


    How it works

    image Balance is a unique mixture of automatic bill pay and human bookkeeper, with an online PFM thrown in to help keep track of it all. The company has built a rich PFM, added billpay powered by Online Resources, and given each customer their very own actual person who oversees the account.

    Unlike previous generations of billpay and the scan-and-pay offerings from PayTrust and others, Balance Financial does everything for you. It receives the printed or electronic billing statement, it uploads the docs to its website, and then the most important piece, it pays the bills automatically based on your prior instructions, just like the private banking officer. The end user is only contacted if the bill falls outside the preexisting parameters.

    Sound too good to be true? Maybe, if it were free, but it’s far from it. The company tested a variety of pricing options and settled on a price that’s borderline ridiculous for the retail banking mindset: $75 per month.



    Are they crazy? Maybe, but probably not. The company has been delivering personal bookkeeping services for seven years, and has paid more than 100,000 bills for its clients (note 3). It knows from experience there are affluent households and small businesses that are happy to offload this task for much more than $75 per month. When paying larger bills, the late fees alone can easily be in this range (note 2).

    Balance admits the audience for $75/mo is tiny. But as its technology gets better, and its bookkeepers can take on bigger client loads, it believes it can push this price down, maybe even way down. So if you are interested in finding a new way to serve your mass affluents with something they can’t get anywhere else, take a look at Balance.

    Balance Financial integrates the human side throughout the Web-based app (3 March 2011)

    Balance Financial integrates the human side throughout the web-based app (3 March 2011)



    1. From the look of the applications for the upcoming FinovateSpring, the number of startups is growing at an even faster pace.
    2. Our record penalty for paying a bill late at our business is $1,100. We’d just made a huge charge and by being that one day late, our APR was bounced to 25%, and we went into revolving mode over two cycles. Even though we paid the balance off within 7 days of making the charge, it still cost $700 one month and $400 the next. Anyway, that one incident alone would pay for Balance for 1.25 years, not to mention avoiding the huge frustration of making a thousand-dollar blunder.
    3. The original bookkeeping service was founded in 2004, by Devin’s wife, Rebecca Miller.
    4. For more on online personal financial management (OFM/PFM), see our Online Banking Report.

    Chase Bank Offering Small Business Clients $2,000 in Free Remote Deposit Capture Services

    image Two thousand is the largest banking premium I’ve ever seen, although Chase’s out-of-pocket costs are probably less than $500. The offer was made last week via email (see first screenshot) to existing business-banking customers not already enrolled in Chase Quick Deposit, a scanner-based remote check-deposit service.

    The details:


    From: Chase Bank 
    To: Business Banking clients
    Date: 10 June 2010 (1 PM)

    Offer: Two years of free remote deposit services (Chase Quick Deposit), normally $50/mo, plus the $855 Panini 50-50 business-class scanner to power it. Total retail value = $2,055 

    Fine print:
    — Users must deposit at least 10 checks per month to maintain fee-free service
    — New Quick Deposit users only; not valid for current or previous users
    — $500 cancellation fee if discontinued within 12 months
    — Offer good through July 31, 2010

    Notes: This offer does not appear to be available to the general public. On the bank’s website, the current offer is a free scanner with a 2-year contract at $50/mo.


    Analysis: It’s definitely attention-getting and will drive new remote-deposit business. But I’m a bit surprised Chase is giving away both the razor and the blades (see note 1). Perhaps the bank is testing different offers. But it will be two years before Chase finds out what percentage of its users convert to paying customers. Of course, they are also banking on an account-retention lift to repay the significant cost of the offer.   

    Email from Chase offering free remote deposit services (10 June 2010, 1 PM)


    Landing page


    Users accepting the offer must first log in to their account to enroll


    1. Offer made to a single-service (DDA) small business checking client converted from WaMu.
    2. For more info, see Online Banking Report: Micro- and Small Business Online Banking (published Oct. 2009)

    Chase Bank Invites Business Customers to Join Business Advisory Board

    image I received an email this morning (see below) from Chase Bank inviting me to participate in a new Business Advisory Board, powered by Lightspeed Research. My colleague also received the same invite for his separate account, so it doesn’t appear to have been a particularly selective emailing. Both accounts were acquired by Chase in the 2008 WaMu debacle.

    To sign up, users simply complete a 10-question one-page online form (first part shown below in screenshot 2) which took just under six minutes (note 1).

    After completing the registration, I expected to be ushered into some type of special club, but all I received was a 15-word paragraph telling me to confirm my email address (screenshot #3). That’s a bit of a letdown after giving the bank nearly 10 minutes of my day. I surmised the big payoff would come after confirming and logging back in. 

    I was wrong. After logging in, I was greeted with a short thank-you statement and an invitation to take the “welcome survey,” which turned out to be three questions about the 2010 economic outlook (screenshot #4). And that was it. Nothing more to see or do. No blog. No “online community” (promised in email). No special offers (note 2). They didn’t even have the courtesy to share the results from the survey I just took (note 3). I began to wonder if I’d been scammed.

    Analysis: On the surface I love this idea: inviting customers to participate in an online advisory board. Customers like to be noticed and heard, and a chance to win $100 is icing on the cake. But if you intend to ask business customers to take 15 minutes out of their day, it better be for something real. So far, I just feel stupid for signing up and thinking that I was actually going to make a difference at the bank.

    Hopefully, they’ll make up for the bad start with interesting opportunities down the road. But the bank will have to work doubly hard to get my attention after this wasted effort. 

    Email from Chase Business Banking (received 19 Jan. 2010, 1:55 PM Pacific)
    Note: Highlighting mine


    1. Landing page from email (link, 19 Jan. 2010)


    2. Registration page (click to enlarge; link)
    Note: Registrants are entered into a sweepstakes to win one of ten $100 prizes.


    3. Registration thank-you screen


    4. Three-question welcome survey is available after confirming your email address


    1. Although the site says it’s for business-banking customers of Chase and WaMu, it appears that anyone that finds the website can join.
    2. Under the “Rewards” tab, information tantalizes regarding earning “cash, prizes, sweepstakes entries” for survey-respondents. But there are no examples or surveys available, so it’s one more small letdown.
    3. Business owners that read through the online FAQs will find out that they may be contacted one or two times per month with “research opportunities,” but Chase shouldn’t bury this key info in the FAQs where only a small percentage of users will find it.
    4. See our recent Online Banking Report for more ideas on how to serve small- and micro-businesses through the online and mobile channels.

    Another Bank Unleashes Remote Deposit for the iPhone: Royal Bank America

    image Another bank is about to join USAA (post), WV United FCU  (post), and Randolph-Brooks FCU (post) in the smartphone-enabled deposit sphere. Royal Bank America, a $1.3 billion (asset) Philadelphia-area institution, is in final testing of its new deposit-taking iPhone app called RoyalRDC (iTunes link).

    image The new app appeared in Apple’s iTunes store on Monday, but currently the bank is accepting only beta testers (see screenshot below). The app, said to be coming “within weeks,” allows a check to be deposited within 30 seconds using any model iPhone.

    The bank is currently promoting the benefits of remote deposit on its home page (see screenshot below). Not only can RDC users skip the trip to the branch, they have 2 additional hours to make a deposit for same-day credit (6 PM instead of 4 PM). That’s an enticing additional benefit nicely highlighted through the shaded-clock image below. 

    Royal Bank America homepage (7 Jan. 2010)
    Note: This is the homepage view after refreshing the page once; yellow highlight is mine.


    Royal Bank call for beta testers (link)


    Note: For more info on mobile banking on the iPhone, see our March Online Banking Report.