It’s been more than six months since we last featured a new mobile app from a financial institution (see Arvest Bank’s financial calculators). It’s not because of lack of activity, or importance. In that time, more than 1,000 financial institution apps have been introduced and the market has really heated up.
But we focus on what’s new and different. And for the most part, the class of 2010 and 2011 have been “me-too” entries. Which is exactly as it should be. Every mid-sized and larger bank and credit union needs at least one app in the iTunes store, so the last 18 months have been about gaining competitive parity.
But things will start to get more interesting again as financial institutions:
- Introduce advanced features such as mobile photo billpay
- Reinforce their overall brand positioning with a novel look and feel
- Look to mobile to differentiate themselves from other players
- Introduce niche apps for defined customer segments
Southern Bancorp’s new mobile app, Shake and Bank, ticks all four boxes. It’s an iPhone/iPod Touch app designed to give kids (or any account holder) a quick look at the balance in their account. As you can see below, Shake and Bank is pretty much self-explanatory:
1. Open app (note 1)
2. Shake iPhone
3. See balance
The app requires a setup code to launch. According to the iTunes entry, the code can be obtained through the bank’s website or at a branch. But as of today, I see no mention of Shake and Bank, or mobile banking for that matter, at their website.
Bottom line: I’m a sucker for pigs, so obviously I like it. But more importantly, Southern Bancorp makes it easy to monitor account balances with a simple kid-friendly approach. And parents will appreciate the help reinforcing the savings habit (note 1).
Southern Bancorp has $1.1 billion in assets and 40 branches in Arkansas and Mississippi.
Southern Bancorp’s iPhone app targeted towards kids (link, 25 April 2011)
1. Since I couldn’t test the app without an account, I assume there is no subsequent login requirement once you’ve entered the setup code. And more importantly, I hope that it oinks when shaken.
2. For more info on mobile banking, see our previous Online Banking Reports.