"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" 

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

PayPal and Sprint team on P2P mobile payments

"PayPal has partnered US wireless operator Sprint to offer its person-to-person services via the telco's new downloadable mobile wallet.

Sprint subscribers with a PayPal account can send money to anyone in the world with a mobile phone number or e-mail address through the MyMoneyManager application. The recipient gets a text message to let them know money has been sent to them.

The Sprint application - which is also being used by BB&T and IBC Bank - was developed by California-based mobile banking outfit mFoundry." Learn more >>

Mobile Banking Vendor mFoundry - ''Fierce 15''

mFoundry, the award-winning mobile financial platform provider, announced today it has been named to the annual FierceWireless “Fierce 15” list of the top wireless companies of the year. FierceWireless editors evaluated hundreds of organizations, and selected mFoundry as a “fierce” market leader. mFoundry’s mobile financial platform has been widely recognized and adopted by the financial services industry to enable mobile banking, payments and mobile wallets. Learn more >>

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Aite: Usage Trends in Online and Mobile Banking

"A new report from Aite Group, LLC reviews consumer adoption trends for key online and mobile banking services over the next two years. It reveals that large U.S. financial institutions expect mobile bill payment, expedited bill payment and online personal finance management tools to be the fastest growing electronic banking services." Click to Learn More >>

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mobile Banking at Net.Finance

I just wanted to take a minute to thank the folks at WBR Research for the great work on the Net.Finance conference last week. If you have not attended I recommend placing it at the top of the calendar for next year. The Hyatt Regency Gainey Ranch (see image above) was absolutely amazing, but more importantly the speakers and content were truly top-notch.

The executives I had the opportunity to meet include:
Chuck Hall (CTO, e-Commerce - Capital One)
Christopher Cox (SVP - Wachovia)
Patrick Reetz (VP - M&I Bank)
Hiroshi Taniguchi (Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi)
Bob Homer (VP - Checkfree/Fiserv)
David Dalka (Fellow Blogger)

As for content - here's a taste of what you missed:
* Wachovia's browser solution is growing at a rate of 20% monthly w/o advertising
* Wachovia's downloadable solution is growing at a rate of 50% monthly

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mobile Banking Research and Data

The last two weeks have produced numerous articles and announcements supporting the theory that mobile banking is truly in demand and is growing at a rapid pace. Specifically, we have seen:

Juniper Research forecasts over 800 million to do mobile banking by 2011
"A new report by Juniper Research into the mobile financial services sector has found that the number of consumers accessing banking services and products via their mobile phones will reach 816 million by 2011, a tenfold increase on the number using such services in 2007...According to the report, the annual number of global mobile banking transactions will rise from 2.7 billion in 2007 to 37 billion by 2011, as a greater number of services are deployed worldwide."

Online Banking Is Old News. Hello Mobile!

"More than 100 million US consumers will use their mobile phones for banking services by 2012, according to Javelin Strategy and Research data cited in an April 2008 BusinessWeek article."

"In an even more specific prediction, TowerGroup said in its "US Mobile Banking Forecast 2007-2012" report that nearly 41 million US consumers will conduct some banking activity by mobile phone at least every 90 days by 2012."

Mobile banking gaining traction among younger customers
"The study found that 21 percent of consumers age 18-34 use their cell phone for mobile banking transactions, compared to about 10 percent of the general population."

"Research firm Aite Group predicts that mobile banking users in the United States, having ballooned from a negligible number at the end of 2006 to 1.7 million by the end of last year, will rise to 8 million by the end of this year. And by 2010, Aite Group forecasts that 35 million Americans will be mobile banking users."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Browsers & Carriers for Mobile Banking

When you begin to think about testing a browser-based mobile banking application you need to carefully consider which handsets to validate; however, that's typically the last step. So, where do you begin? Here's my recommendation:

1) Determine which carriers you want to validate. Obviously you want to start with the big 5 (ATT, Verizon, Sprint, Alltel and T-Mobile) but don't forget to also consider any local or regional players.

2) Determine which browsers are most critical to you. At a minimum consider the following: Blackberry, Blazer (Palm), Mobile/Pocket IE, Nokia, Opera & Opera Mini, Safari, NetFront, and Openwave. Quick Note: Openwave is the most widely sold browser of all time, but you will rarely if ever hear someone claim to be running the product. It appears that handset manufacturers simply purchase and re-brand the product.

3) Determine the handsets. Unfortunately, it's not quite as easy as it sounds. The challenge is trying to determine which handsets need to be tested on the respective carriers in order to cover all of the possible browser/carrier combinations. Additionally, I'd recommend taking it one step further and also cross referencing the handsets your clients are carrying. How do you accomplish that? Good old fashioned primary research - I'll cover that in another post.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Device Anywhere and Mobile Banking

Need to test your mobile banking application?
I recently had the pleasure of working with the Device Anywhere solution from Mobile Complete and I must tell you - it is AMAZING. In fact, the only time I got frustrated was when I discovered that they're a privately held company (i.e. preventing me from owning stock.) Their primary investors are Motorola Ventures and France Telecom’s venture subsidy, Innovacom.

Here's the scoop -

Anyone in the world with an internet enabled computer can dial into the Device Anywhere product from the comfort of their home or office. Once in the product you select the handset you want to test and the carrier of your choice. In all you can choose from 24 different packages (carrier/region combo) and for the top 5 U.S. carriers you have access to 250+ devices. And please note, I'm not talking about emulating 250 devices. When you dial in you are working on an actual handset - see below.

Image compliments of www.spuggy.co.uk

Now, what would you expect to pay for this service? $20,000...$15,000...$10,000? The fact is that you can access the service today for as little as $200 a month. This allows you 10 hours of testing, and if you need a little more time then you just pay as you go. Now, granted 10 hours will not cover extensive use-case testing across multiple carriers, but do the math - even that is fairly reasonable.

Anyway, I'm not a paid spokesperson but I have become a raving fan. Check them out and for great service ask for Troy Green (650)655-6455.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Handset Help for Mobile Banking

Have you ever been frustrated because you're searching for information about a handset and just can't find what you're looking for? Me too...try these 3 sites and see if they help:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Mobile Banking in Business Week

I was just browsing for updates on mobile banking and found a link to this article on PaymentsNews. The article "Just Put it on My Phone" was written by Olga Kharif and covers recent announcements from Western Union, Amazon.com, Firethorn/CitiBank, Obopay/Yes Bank, and many more.

In addition, the article quotes Matt Dill (GM - Western Union Mobile) on the power of mobile commerce. He states, "It does transform our available market...There's a new customer base out there, one that's interested in moving money for different reasons."

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Dill at an Aite conference last fall and was very impressed by his knowledge of the market. I assure you - Western Union will be force to reckon with and not simply because they have 300,000 locations worldwide.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mobile Banking from Arvest

The other day I received word that Arvest Bank Group launched their Firethorn powered mobile banking solution. Arvest operates in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Southeast Kansas, and Southern Missouri. However, also take note of their mobile banking microsite. Arvest has done a nice job of constructing a clean, simple, and user-friendly site with a demo produced by Autodemo.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Mobile Banking Updates

Citibank, Obopay to Pilot Mobile Person-to-Person Payment Service
"Citibank has announced that it will make Obopay’s mobile person-to-person payment service available to Citibank checking account customers on a trial basis. Citibank says it is the first U.S. retail bank to trial an integrated mobile payment service."

Wiring Money Turns Wireless into New Plan by Sara Silver
"Western Union Co., hoping to boost its share of the money-transfer market, is teaming up with RadioShack Corp. and a small wireless company to offer a service that lets people send money through their cellphones.

The service is aimed at immigrants to the U.S. who regularly send money to family members in their native countries. Many of these immigrants don't have bank accounts and send the money by taking cash to a transfer service such as Western Union or a host of other firms."

MIT Media Lab and Bank of America announce Center for Future Banking

"The MIT Media Laboratory and Bank of America today announced the creation of the Center for Future Banking, a five-year collaboration to which Bank of America has committed $3-5 million annually.

"Bank of America is investing in the future of banking. Working with the MIT Media Lab provides a unique opportunity to grow banking in innovative ways that respond to evolving customer behavior, preferences, and trends," said Anne Finucane, Chief Marketing Officer, Bank of America."

City-County Federal Credit Union Selects mFoundry to Provide Mobile Banking Solution
"Mobile banking and payments leader mFoundry today announced that City-County Federal Credit Union (CCFCU) has selected the mFoundry platform for mobile banking. CCFCU will leverage mFoundry’s® Spotlight Financial Platform™ software to offer mobile banking services to their members, including the ability to securely access account balances, to transfer money between accounts, and the ability to find the nearest branch and ATMs. City-County Federal Credit Union is the seventh largest credit union in the state of Minnesota. It has more than 66,000 members and nearly $500 million in assets. The credit union operates nine full-service offices in the Twin Cities area."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mobile Banking Announcements for CTIA

Affinity Mobile and mFoundry Align

mFoundry, the award-winning mobile financial platform provider, and Affinity Mobile, a global provider of mobile financial services to the world’s underbanked, announce a new alliance to pursue the expansion of mobile wallet services to prepaid and underbanked markets. Affinity Mobile’s MADE solution will be paired with mFoundry’s® Spotlight Financial Platform™ software to create a comprehensive mobile wallet solution for the U.S. and international markets. The combination of the two companies’ world-class capabilities to span both prepaid and postpaid subscribers’ needs will further adoption by mobile operators, financial institutions and consumers globally. Click here to read the full release >>

Citi Cards and Firethorn Join Forces

Citi Cards and mobile commerce enabler Firethorn Holdings, LLC, a Qualcomm company (Nasdaq: QCOM), today announced a strategic relationship to enable Citi® credit cardmembers to easily and securely access real-time account information anytime, anywhere on their wireless handsets. The new service is expected to be available to Citi credit card customers across the U.S. by the third quarter this year. Click here to read the full release >>