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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mobile Banking with Steve Kietz of MMV

My fourth interview in the Mobile CEO series was conducted with Steve Kietz of Mobile Money Ventures (MMV). To learn more about Steve please visit MobileMoneyVentures.net.

Additionally, I'd like to take a moment to thank Steve for his support of the St. Jude Childrens Hospital. Please be sure to click on the MMV banner in the right margin to view a demo of the MMV platform.

Q: What’s your differentiator? What sets your mobile banking solution apart from the competition?

A: There are three main components that differentiate MMV.
1. The Mobile Money Platform™ is not a point-to-point solution. It’s robust and scalable with five key modalities: 1) Banking 2) Stock Trades 3) Payments 4) Deals & Rewards 5) Manage & Track (PFM).

2. The content adaption tool allows for deployment in weeks, but the institution is still able to rely on the platform for long-term success.

3. MMV was founded on a “Best in Class” customer experience. The platform is easy, intuitive, and visually appealing.

Q: Who are your key clients?

A: MMV has multiple installations with Citi, and will continue global expansion, installing in more than 12 countries by the end of 2009.

Q: Who are your key partners?

A: Our key partners are:
• Citi
• SK telecom and SK C&C
• Accenture
• Mobile Complete (Device Anywhere)

Q: Budget season is just around the corner, and the #1 question bankers want to ask is – What’s it going to cost me?

A: Truthfully, it’s tough to name a price since MMV has so many solutions to accommodate many different budgets. Our content adaption solution is a bundle package and can be launched in weeks. We do have a “go to market” strategy that includes a low installation fee and per user pricing. Basically, this means that MMV is taking risk with the institution. If there’s no uptake – we don’t get paid. We are, “putting our money where our mouth is.”

The key is the 12 month payback resulting from call center expense reductions. You don’t have to eliminate very many $5 calls to break even.

Q: What components of your ROI model have begun to materialize?

A: Many analysts question whether mobile can really eliminate more calls. They feel that online banking has already maximized the reduction. However, the truth is – it’s occurring.

There are also some retention benefits and some proof of mobile driving new relationships, but the most obvious driver is a lower number of inbound calls.

In the future, ROI will not be focused on expense saves. It will be focused on:
• Cross-sell
• Up-sell
• Mobile CRM

Q: How many active users do you have across all FI’s?

A: We have strong adoption of the mobile platform worldwide with hundreds of thousands of users.

Q: What’s your highest client adoption %

A: Our iPhone application is experiencing the highest rate of adoption. The App store is key with 50,000 applications and 1.5 billion downloads.

Q: What’s your lowest client adoption %

A: Our lowest adoption occurs with mobile-specific browser URLs. For instance, directing customers to urls of m.xyzbank.com or xyzbank.mobi are not as successful.

Q: What do the demographics of your users look like?

A: There are some specific demographics for the iPhone, but even people without lots of disposable income will purchase the device. MMV’s strategy is to design for the masses. We’ve conducted focus groups but there are no specific age buckets. We designed our solution to work with all classes of phones, from simple flip phones with small screens to sophisticated smart phones.

Q: What do the usage patterns look like? Balance, History, Transfers, BP, Locator?

A: Our data is consistent with the industry reports. The future relies on the enhanced features. For example in Hong Kong stock trading is very big.

Q: What security elements are incorporated into your application?

A: To ensure the highest level of security, MMV’s solution utilizes two-factor authentication, employing a one-time password and securing communication with end-to-end encryption. MMV provides end-to-end security from the mobile device to the backend server regardless of WAP gateway.

The key is to be “aligned with the bank requirements” as well as the country/government specifications. For example, in the Philippines, Citi required two-factor authentication.

Q: How likely are biometrics to become a component?

A: We looked at biometics in early 2008, but tests revealed that it wasn’t stable enough for the mainstream customer. It would have been more of a deterent for customers, and we don’t want security to be a hinderance for mass adoption. It will be something to watch, but the key is to focus on, “what’s best for the consumer.”

Q: How has the iPhone changed your approach to the business?

A: It has changed everybody’s business. We knew that applications were a better experience for the customer, but we needed to figure out how to get past the download. Now clients understand the download process and are accustomed to the experience.

Apple offered unique API’s and MMV optimized the form factor. We designed a banking-appropriate yet similar experience. This has resulted in interest for additional apps and MMV is developing for other platforms including Blackberry.

Q: What has been your biggest surprise/lesson-learned over the last couple of years?

A: Being based in California during the recession has enabled MMV to attract world-class talent across all jobs and in all disciplines. We found talented individuals excited to participate in a half corporate/half start-up setting.

Q: What big industry development should we expect within the next 12 months?

A: 2010 will be the year of the payment sticker, and MMV has a solution that will link the sticker to the mobile device.

Q: What can banks do a better job of to facilitate adoption?

A: There are to ways:
1) Build awareness. We’ve all benefited from the mass media of large FIs.
2) Look at history. What have banks done to accelerate previous technologies?

Citi was regarded as the ATM pioneer but they weren’t the first to market. Citi was able to differentiated by being the first bank to dedicate people/resources to show customers how to use an ATM machine. The mobile winner will be the first bank to have a kiosk/booth that is used to train customers how to download/use mobile applications.

To read the first three articles in the series click any of these links:
Scott Moeller - MShift
Adam Clark - MCOM
Pete Daffern - Clairmail

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