"Brandon McGee, Industry Insider, Mobile Banking Guru...He is not only the real deal, a genuine industry insider, but also knows exactly what's on the minds of financial service pros as they contemplate the various mobile options." - Jim Bruene, Publisher & Founder, Online Financial Innovations

"Going Mobile. Local executive carves niche as national expert on fast-growing banking-industry technology trend" - Scott Olson, Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ)

"Brandon McGee, the industry's unofficial ambassador for mobile banking" 

Sunday, July 29, 2007

HSBC Pricing of Mobile Banking

If you are visiting from Mobile Money & Banking let me say - Welcome.

On the other hand, if you have no idea what I'm talking about - I apologize - once you’re done here please check out the post I wrote today for Mobile Money & Banking titled "Mobile and Top 10 U.S. Banks."

Anyway, this weekend as I was doing some research I stumbled upon some very interesting tid-bits about the HSBC mobile service. As I dug into their disclosure I learned that they are not offering their service for free - at least not in the UK. As you can see they offer a "free weekly mini-statement" service via SMS. However, if you would like to utilize the "personalized" text message service it's going to run you 2.50 pounds/month ($5 US).

Additionally, if you would prefer to sign up for the Rich UX solution (via Monilink) you'll incur the following charges:

* Balance inquiry - 20p ($0.41 US)
* Mini statement - 25p ($0.51 US)

That's right...a bank that has decided not to give away the premium product. Actually, let me rephrase, there is a promotion in place through 12/31/07 in which the service is free, but then the standard charges apply beginning in 2008. So, for all you mobile bankers out there - hold on to hope. There might be a way yet that we can generate some fee income with this solution.

Also interesting, as I'm sure you've noticed, is that all of the pricing is quoted in pounds. It seems that the service isn't promoted and possibly not even offered in the U.S. In fact, the only way I found the information was by performing a Google search. There's no link or mention on the U.S. version of HSBC.com.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mobile Banking Research

Recently, there have been a couple of interesting tid-bits from the research community.

Just this morning, there was an article in the American Banker titled "Web Seen Most Effective to Keep Young Customers" by Daniel Wolfe. In the article Mr. Wolfe shares that a recent report from Celent found that, "...60% of college students have decided to keep their current banking relationship after graduating...and that the Internet played a large role in their decision."

Additionally, the article references a discussion with Ilieva Ageenko (e-commerce director at Wachovia) where she states, "the young generation's appetite for immediate access was greater than Wachovia was able to satisfy, even by extending its services to mobile phones. For example Wachovia can give daily balance updates by text message, but its younger customers wanted intraday updates as well."

This is yet more proof that simple alerts will not be enough to satisfy the "on demand" mentality of our clients. Financial institutions must utilize a mobile offering so that the Gen Y, Gen X, and even the progressive Boomers can access their information any time - any where.

The second interesting development is from Javelin Strategy & Research. Just yesterday, I received a promotional email about the "Mobile Reports Triple Pack." The research contains three separate reports and covers the primary topics on everyone's mind: Mobile Banking, Mobile Payments, and Mobile Banking Security. While I haven't yet read them I hope to do so very soon, and while $3000 is not cheap it does save $600 off the individual price.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Review of .mobi

I highly recommend visiting the website http://www.mtld.mobi/ if you haven’t run across it yet.

This site has a ton of great resources including:

· A top notch emulator

· Examples of live sites by category in the “Showcase”

· A testing tool called “ready.mobi”

· And even a gui tool to help you build your very own mobile site

For the die-hards in the group there are even blogs, forums, ebooks…the list is nearly endless. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

WSECU and Fuze Announce Mobile Offering

This morning I ran across a new FI that has jumped into the mobile arena, and is utilizing a vendor that I'm not familiar with. The credit union $1.2 billion Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU) has selected Fuze as their mobile banking vendor.

It appears as though they've taken a slightly unique approach at mobile by combining a WAP solution with a Rich UX solution. The WAP solution can be reach at http://www.wsecu.mobi/ where you have two options: 1) click on "Mobile Finance Manager" where you're taken to a WAP login or 2) click to download an application to your device.

Friday, July 13, 2007

ClairMail Announcement

Mobile Web and Thin Client
with no application deployed on the device.

What is Chase Bank Up To?

I was recently at an Indianapolis Indians baseball game and was talking to a good friend of mine about the growth of mobile banking. He, being a mobile junky, said I wish Chase Bank had a mobile banking service.

Then, literally the next day, I read a post by Eric Mattson on the Mobile Banking & Money blog that discussed how 4 of the top 5 banks in the country have already rolled-out or announced their plans for the mobile banking channel.

Which got me thinking - what is Chase up to?

After all, we're talking about the bank that implemented mobile alerts quite awhile ago, and has the highest rated website in the county. I'm not going to believe for a minute that they are sitting this one out. Nor do I believe that they are behind and haven't considered it. So what does all this mean? I'm not sure.

On the one hand, if they were enlisting the help of a vendor I'd expect that we would have already seen a press release. Vendors love touting their recent conquests and landing the 3rd largest FI in the country is no small feat. On the flip side maybe they are taking a page from the Steve Jobs book of marketing and have the plans locked down. Either way - keep your eyes and ears open. I am expecting to hear something soon.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bank of America Mobile Banking

After this post you'll think I sound like a broken record, but Bank of America impressed me again today. I logged into online banking to check my account balance, and was immediately taken to a landing page promoting mobile banking. But they don't stop there.

First of all, it's not just a pop-up that's easily ignored. It's a full page where the client must click a button whether it's to "Learn More" or "Continue to Online Banking." Additionally, they have done a great job of promoting the convenience of the channel by developing the tagline "For anytime, anywhere convenience." Finally, they have addressed the most important concern (i.e. safety and security) by promoting the fact that they offer a "Zero Liability Online Banking Guarantee," with a link to learn more about their commitment.

Their deep pockets and strong execution will help spread the word about mobile banking, and in the end that will help the growth and adoption of every institution that offers the service.

Monday, July 9, 2007

K.I.S.S. in Mobile Banking

Sorry it has been a week since my last post, but family comes first and I took some time to unplug last week - including a trip to Chicago - ahhh the windy city. If you haven't experienced the Taste of Chicago or fireworks while dining at Riva's on the Navy Pier I highly recommend both.

Back to business, as I strolled down Michigan Avenue I happened upon one of Apple's flagship stores. Ok - sorry that's a lie - the truth is that I wanted to play with the new iPhone so I ran there and back while my wife was getting ready for dinner.

Anyway, the whole way there my mind was reeling:
* Will iPhone users be able to seamlessly work through our traditional online banking site?
* How will this "thing" impact mobile banking?
* How will Rich UX, WAP, and SMS vendors be affected?

After getting the hang of the navigation my first visit was to our corporate site and I quickly realized that the iPhone is not a replacement for the home computer. Our site rendered perfectly, the touch screen worked beautifully and the unit itself is absolutely amazing but the fact is you're still working on a 480x320 screen (i.e. when held landscape.)

My next visits were to BofA mobile and ING mobile, and that's where memories of the old business school adage of K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Silly) came flooding back to mind. When you visit the BofA site you're presented a clean and simple page where navigation is easy and you can quickly accomplish the task at hand. However, ING has chosen to incorporate much more "branding," and the truth is that it's just not as user-friendly. It looks great, but we must remember that the mobile user will likely be punching in key strokes one-handed while performing any number of other tasks.

P.S. The iPhone does live up to the hype. It looks cool and is unbelievably functional. Plus, I can't tell you the number of times on this trip alone that I felt like Batman loading up my utility belt with a personal phone, blackberry, camera, and iPod to head out for the day.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Mobile Banking & Security

This year I have poured over hundreds of articles, white papers, case studies, and survey findings and one consistent theme through-out is that customers must feel that mobile banking is safe and secure; otherwise, you can throw all of those lofty penetration and growth estimates in the "circular file".

So, with that in mind, let’s discuss the topic of security. What are the strengths and weaknesses?

Strength: From my research I feel like many, if not all, of the vendors in the market do in fact - "get it." When they were developing their products they realized that information security was a critical element, and that MFA compliance would be essential. Additionally, they did a great job of eliminating sensitive information when it wasn't needed (i.e. requiring nicknames instead of using account numbers.) Vendors - nice job!!

Weakness: This will not be a surprise, but it's something that I had not yet considered - the greatest weakness in the safety and security of the mobile environment is the - mobile banking user. Much like traditional online banking, the greatest threat is that the customer hasn't taken the necessary precautions to ensure their own safety.

For example, answer the following questions:
* Do you have your phone setup to require a password? Nearly every phone on the market has functionality built right in.
* Have you installed anti-virus software on your mobile device?
* Do you only download ring tones, photos, and games from trusted sources?
* What are your default settings for your Bluetooth and Beam?

Like to learn more? Check out this information on the Microsoft site:

Help avoid computer viruses that spread over mobile devices
Windows Mobile Antivirus Partners