"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" 

Monday, August 31, 2009

Drew Sievers - CEO of mFoundry on Mobile Banking

This evening I'm pleased to share the details of my interview with Drew Sievers (CEO - mFoundry). To read more about Drew visit mFoundry.com.

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

A: mFoundry has the two components necessary to grow:
1) A 3 mode fully integrated mobile banking solution
2) Access to core banking providers

Q: Who are your key clients?

A: Citi, PNC, BB&T, IBC, Zions Bank

Q: Who are you key partners?

A: Fidelity (15 FIs), PSCU (6 CUs), NCR, FirstData, CoOp (8 CUs)

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: The price of a mobile banking solution depends upon the assets of the bank and their DDA base. The industry average is around $1/user/month - $3/user/month. There are vendors that allow for “all you can eat pricing,” but these are primarily solutions that utilize screen scrapping.

During your price discussions, be sure to confirm that the amount you’re quoted includes all 3 modes. Some vendors price the solutions separately. And, finally inquire about monthly minimums. These will again vary by the size of the institution.

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

A: Currently, the largest savings is due to call center deflection. Our solution has been proven to move customers that repeatedly call-in to the less expensive mobile banking channel. Mobile banking has also been proven to make the clients stickier and less likely to attrite. In the future, the new ROI model will be around expedited payments. This will be a great way to generate revenue.

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

A: Hundreds of Thousands

Q: What’s your highest client adoption %

A: One client achieved 8% in just 5 months.

Q: What’s your lowest client adoption %

A: We don’t really have any laggards. It has become pretty standard to achieve 10% by the end of year 2, but banks will need all 3 channels to be successful.

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

A: We have witnessed heavier usage among the “young” and “affluent.” Smartphone users gravitate toward the mobile web and applications, while clients with other handsets (non-smarthphones) use text banking.

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

A: Account balance is the “killer app.” Customers with feature phones don’t use the mobile web – they use text banking. Mobile Web adoption tends to mimic application adoption with 90% of users coming from either the iPhone or a Blackberry device. However, application usage is 3-4 times larger:
o Mobile Web – 1/week
o Mobile App – Multiple/week

Q: What security elements are incorporated into your application?

A: The mobile device is already more secure than a laptop, but there are different levels of security within each of the channels:
o Text Banking - Is the most unsecure because it flows across unsecure channels.
o Mobile Web – Is more secure but there are concerns because of spoofing.
o Application – The application is the toughest and the most secure.

Also, be cautious of two-way interactions utilizing a combination of text and links to the mobile browser. This is scary because it trains the customer to expect unsolicited alerts that ask for permission to launch a link where credentials are input.

Q: How likely are biometrics to become a component?

A: Biometics won’t happen in the near future.

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

A: The iPhone has changed everything! It made the system less dependant upon the carriers and allowed bankers to have a direct interaction with the client. Carriers didn’t think they were blocking innovation, but the app store has shown the kind of innovation that can occur when you take away the barriers.

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

A: First, all 3 modes of mobile banking are critical. Second, customers expect solutions from banks not mobile operators.

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

A: I think the two biggest developments will be expedited bill payment via mobile devices and P2P bank to bank.

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

A: You must build it and promote it. The banks that do a good job with promotion online and through the branch do very well.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Text Alert for Community Banks

"This borders on invoking Murphy's Law: Most community banks haven't yet rolled out mobile banking, yet these institutions are the most likely to be hit by smishing, an emerging security risk that targets the mobile channel. And tech weapons have only limited powers to stop it.

'[Smishing] is like if I walked up to your door, introduced myself as being from a bank and asked you for your personal credentials. If you're foolish enough to give that information to me, there's nothing the bank can do about it,' says Joram Borenstein, senior manager of RSA, the security division of EMC. 'The only difference is smishing is happening through cells phones and PDAs.'" >> Continue Reading

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Interview with Lisa Stanton - CEO of Monitise

Today I'm excited to share the details of my mobile banking interview with Lisa Stanton (CEO - Monitise). To learn more about Lisa please visit the Monitise website.

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

A: There are 5 ways in which Monitise is unique:
1) Inclusivity – The client does not need to be an online banking user to be a mobile banking user. The Monitise platform covers all of the modalities. Any device. Any consumer. Ubiquitous.

2) Bank Grade – Our solution is tried and tested by the largest banks in the world. It is secure.

3) Line of sight to Payments – We built mobile banking to get to mobile payments and we can use the same rails.

4) Stability – Based on ownership of Metavante/Fidelity & Monitise

5) Turn-Key Service - Monitise can deliver the basic functionality in just 4 weeks. There’s no integration and no hardware required.

Q: Who are your key clients?

A: We have dozens of prepaid programs but H&R Block (Top 10 in debit cards issued) is our largest. We also have over 100 FIs now signed, including a couple of Top 20 Banks.

Q: Who are you key partners?

A: Visa, Corporate Network eCom, eCommLink, and Metavante

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

A: With Monitise there is no upfront investment. The institution simply pays a small ongoing monthly base fee, and they can choose their preferred method:
1. Pay Per Transaction
2. Pay Per User/Month

Monitise also has a business case template to help guide the FI. The return of a mobile banking solution is based upon migrating clients away from foreign ATMs and the Call Center. Additionally, with just a small amount of customer acquisition and a little retention benefit the business case becomes very compelling.

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

A: It has been proven soundly that we’re able to migrate clients away from the ATM and the Call Center. It’s very easy to justify when you’re not incurring $0.50/transactions at a foreign ATM. We have also witnessed more transactions and more dollars flowing through mobile banking accounts, and reducing attrition by just a percent or two goes a long way.

Q: What’s your highest client adoption %

A: 5% in just one year

Q: What’s your lowest client adoption %

A: Around 2% at the end of year one.

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

A: There are generational differences but you will see engagement across all demographics. The most intriguing aspect is that there appears to be a huge spike of mobile banking adoption at age 42. There is something to be said for better phones leading to better adoption, but we have 50 banks running on NYCE that are text only.

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

A: The balance request is the winner by a mile. The second most popular feature depends upon the country. In the UK it is Top-Ups but in the US it is the ability to transfer funds.

Q: What security elements are incorporated into your application?

A: We feel great about our security. We have been live for a couple of years with largest banks and have met all of their requirements. Our application is specific to the device and can not be transferred. Plus, we use a secure PIN that is not tied to the ATM or Debit card.

Q: How likely are biometrics to become a component?

A: We don’t have biometrics on the roadmap currently.

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

A: It has changed the business for everyone. Before the iPhone no one knew how to download mobile banking applications; yet, today many people are very comfortable with the concept. The iPhone also brought about the app stores for Apple, RIM, Palm, etc.

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

A: Monitise Americas really took off just as the economy began to slump. Yet, it has not affected the level of interest in mobile banking. For three years we have seen plenty of interest and engagement in mobile financial services.

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

A: We will likely see a big bank choose to rollout NFC past the pilot stage, and there will be advances, but they will not be industry changing.

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

A: Banks need to do a better job of marketing the product, “tell them and they will come.” I know marketing dollars have been stripped, but just a little goes a long way.

Also, institutions can still use mobile as a differentiator, and they should take advantage of the opportunity for as long as they can. It’s great for them and for the industry.

Click on the links below to view the other five articles in this series.

Scott Moeller - MShift

Adam Clark - MCOM

Pete Daffern - Clairmail

Steve Kietz - Mobile Money Ventures

Tripp Rackley - Firethorn

Mobile Banking Updates - Aug 27

Purchasing Facebook Credits with Zong Mobile Payments
"At Glenbrook we believe that social eCommerce and virtual currencies are the new frontier of payments. Person-to-person transfers, charity donations, and micropayments for virtual goods (e.g. games, music, e-books, etc.) are exploding within social networks and as the 800-pound-gorilla in the social networking space, all eyes are on Facebook. Estimates vary, but $300-500 million in transactions may happen within Facebook in 2009 (note 1), although thus far precious few of those transactions are funded by a native Facebook payment mechanism."

Nokia Money - mobile financial services for the masses
"Nokia today introduced Nokia Money, a mobile financial service, which will offer basic financial management and payments from a mobile phone. It will allow you to send money to another person, using just their mobile phone number, pay for goods, services and bills or recharge pre-pad SIM cards. Financial services are widely considered a very significant market opprtunity for the future: there are 4 billion mobile phones, but only 1.6 billion bank accounts."

NTT DoCoMo hits 10m mobile wallet accounts
"The leading cellular operator in Japan, NTT DoCoMo, says that it now has 10 million regular users of its DCMX contactless credit card phones, run under its Osaifu-Keitai service (mobile wallet service). We understand that a subscriber is someone who pays for banking services as well as micropayment use on their phones, and there are many more handsets out that that have the technology installed."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Verisign Sells Messaging to Syniverse

"VeriSign Inc. said Tuesday that it will sell its messaging business to Tampa, Fla.-based Syniverse Holdings Inc. for $175 million in cash. "Even under challenging economic conditions, we have continued to execute on our divestiture strategy through aligning with buyers with complementary strengths," said Mark McLaughlin, VeriSign's chief executive officer, in a statement." >> View News

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tripp Rackley (Firethorn) on Mobile Banking and Mobile Commerce

Today I'm excited to publish the notes from my interview with Tripp Rackley, CEO - Firethorn. To learn more about Tripp visit the Firethorn website.

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

A: A few years ago all mobile banking vendors were lumped into one category, but many of the companies that the industry would consider as Firethorn’s competitors have mobile platforms that can accommodate only account servicing (balances). Firethorn was not formed to service accounts – we are not trying to replicate internet banking on the phone. The focus needs to be on mcommerce and payments.

From a banking perspective it comes down to just 2 things:
1. Great distribution across ATT & Verizon, the two largest wireless carriers.
2. Scale to support all operating systems. Android doesn’t have mass adoption yet but Firethorn has already built the platform.

Q: Who are your key clients?

A: Synovus, BancorpSouth, Arvest, America First, USAA, CitiCards, SDCCU, BECU, Wachovia, SunTrust, Regions

Q: Who are your key partners?

A: AT&T, Verizon Wireless, CellularSouth, CheckFree, FundTech, FTPS (Fifth-Third Processing Solutions), Mastercard

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: The key to success is – don’t limit it to mobile banking. This is a path to mobile commerce until consumers can access all of the brands they want, with the phone they have, through the channel they prefer.

Mobile will not have the same ROI as online banking until there is scale, but this is coming. Initially, clients will use mobile in addition to the existing channels, but in time these will become “replacement transactions” that will extract expense from the system.

Understanding cost is important, but the real cost is in people and support. The ROI play today is to capture customers with mobile that did not adopt online banking. This is where handset enrollment comes into play and could be substantial for an FI.

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

A: There’s only ROI where you can change the consumer behavior – promote mobile over a more expensive channel.

All major brands need mobile. If you choose to ignore mobile it would be like saying, “we’re not going to embrace the internet,” or even worse because mobile is so much more prevalent.

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

A: Our users are more demographically focused than handset focused and match the general industry data of 18 to 35.

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

A: Firethorn is very pleased with the usage trends.
• Avg. logins of 4-5/week
• Avg. 3 transfers/month
• Avg. 2 bill payments/month

Q: What security elements are incorporated into your application?

A: Security should be prevalent to the consumer but easy to use, and all heavy security should be hidden. It’s about the form factor. With an ATM the client uses a PIN. It would be inappropriate to ask for an online banking password at the ATM.

Yet, some FIs want the mobile banking password to match the online banking password. This is not appropriate – the form factor isn’t right. It’s wrong to approach mobile as an extension of the online banking.

Q: How likely are biometrics to become a component?

A: I spent time looking at biometics before starting Firethorn, but it was just too early. There’s a heavy fear of biometrics, and the domestic devices are not equipped with the necessary hardware.

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

A: The iPhone has had a major emotional impact on the industry and has brought about “freedom” for all smart devices. The iPhone is an exceptional device that is beautifully designed and very successful, but it doesn’t cover the mass market. Some institutions have reacted with just an iPhone application or just a Blackberry application, but you need to offer what the market demands. You must address them all. You can not pick just one.

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

A: Going into 2010 mobility should not be a question – it’s a must have. You can not pick just one mobile channel as a strategy. You must address consumers the way they want to be addressed.

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

A: NFC still has a long time to go. There will be implementations of NFC but still in trial environments. I’m “bullish” on mobile commerce.

Additionally, Firethorn has invested heavily in research to confirm what consumers really want and need; this helps shape our product and also helps our partners better market to their key audience with the right message.


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

A: You must get mobile in front of the customers. Incorporate mobile into all of your existing media: banner ads, radio, print.

This craze is similar to the beginning of the internet. This is the time to capture customers. There are people purchasing a device, walking out of the store, and then sitting down and looking for things to do with it. It’s phenomenal!

Umpqua Selects Fiserv and MCOM

"'Umpqua has a reputation for innovative customer interaction, and it is important that our mobile banking service provide a technologically sophisticated yet user-friendly experience,' said Colin Eccles, executive vice president and chief information officer, Umpqua Bank. 'We anticipate a growing demand for reliable and secure mobile financial services and are confident that this is the right time to introduce mobile banking to our customers.'" >> Continue Reading

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Interviews with Mobile Banking Vendors

I'm proud to announce that the Mobile Banking blog is now half way through the interviews with the top U.S. mobile banking vendors. Here's a recap in case you missed one of the articles:

Scott Moeller - MShift


Adam Clark - MCOM

Pete Daffern - Clairmail


Steve Kietz - Mobile Money Ventures (MMV)

And don't forget to check back over the next few weeks as the Mobile Banking blog will be publishing the interviews with Firethorn, Monitise, mFoundry and Sybase.

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

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mobile Banking: Pete Daffern of Clairmail

Today, I'm excited to share the details of my recent interview with Pete Daffern (CEO - Clairmail). To learn more about Pete to visit Clairmail.com.

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

A: Ultimately, Clairmail has a mobile banking platform that will give you more adoption and a higher volume and depth of engagement than any other vendor. Our platform allows clients to proactively interact with their customers rather than just waiting for the customer to reach out to the bank.

What’s in it for the bank?
Bankers are continually looking to improve the cost structure of the interaction while improving the level of service; and, this is particularly true for high volume/low value requests such as balance and history. Banks need to deepen the relationship to reduce churn, and multi-level alerts can help accomplish this task.

Here are a few low balance alert examples:
• Informational Alert: "Your checking account balance has fallen below $100."

• Actionable Alert: "Your checking account balance has fallen below $100. Would you like to transfer funds from Savings? Reply ‘T’ to move $100.”

• Conversational Alerts: "Your checking account balance has fallen below $100. Would you like to transfer funds from Savings? Reply ‘T’ to move $100.” The customer replies “T”, and receives a subsequent text message: “Thank you. $100 has been transferred from Savings to Checking. To learn more about our overdraft protection service, reply ‘O’.”

Clairmail has built a great management team and we do a better job of getting users and delivering value to those users. Some vendors are positioning themselves for a “quick flip” but Clairmail is building a business. We are focused on the customer, and we ask ourselves everyday, “What should we do for the client?”
We are working to:
• Driving adoption
• Make implementation quick and easy
• Create value at both the business and technology level
• Make the product scalable

Q: Who are your key clients?

A: We have over 40 mobile banking customers and we of course consider all of them as key. They include BB&T, PNC, Bank of Stockton and various others including 6 of the top 10 banks.

Q: Who are you key partners?

A: Diebold, Fidelity, and Telus (Canadian Carrier) just to name a few.

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: The cost of a mobile banking solution is a few hundred thousand dollars, and as long as the FI is sensible with their contract and implements the correct way it should break even in 6 months—for some it has been much faster.

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

A: We have witnessed meaningful expense reductions by eliminating calls to the call center. In fact, the 6 month break even I mentioned previously only takes into consideration the call reduction component. However, there are additional benefits from asset retention, cross-sell and up-sell potential.

The best, most efficient and engaging way to proactively reach the client is with multi-level alerts. Customers no longer respond to email, snail-mail, or phone calls.

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

A: The ClairMail mobile banking solution, has experienced a 700 percent year-over-year increase in monthly mobile banking transactions, and a 200 percent year-over-year revenue increase for the second quarter of 2009.

Q: What’s your highest client adoption %

A: Bank of Stockton is at 10% of their total customer base and growing very quickly. Other vendors tend to report adoption numbers as a percentage of online banking customers, not all customers. That is misleading and doesn't take into account that mobile banking adoption is growing independently of online banking (as it should be) and will quickly eclipse its marketshare. We have various customers on their way toward 60% or more adoption and eventually we expect to see these numbers to be closer to 100%.

Q: What’s your lowest client adoption %

A: There are banks that have experienced a change in leadership and/or focus and there adoption has not been as successful. Mobile banking can be very valuable, but it should not be a check-box solution. In 2009 we’re really starting to see an uptick that will grow exponentially over the next few years.

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

A: For the young generations that send thousands of messages per month mobile banking is required. For the 35-55 demographic - it’s expected. They need access to multiple cards, accounts, loans, and lines of credit. Yet, it’s not completely driven by age. For instance, Bank of Stockton has a slightly older demographic but due to the nature of their client base they have the highest adoption.

Smartphones are also pushing growth and adoption. Initially, usage was focused on the East and West coast, but now it’s spreading nation wide. At Clairmail, we focus on a suite of offerings that allow banks to bring their customers valuable mobile banking services regardless of their handset type. Our opinion is that SMS is the most important with mobile browser as second and the third most popular channel is the app. The application is a key growth offering for the future, but really has to be delivered in a smart way that takes into account the customers needs.

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

A: Mobile 1.0 was all the simple stuff like: balances, account history and transfers. Now that banks have a better understanding of the possibilities they’re looking to provide more value in the form of multi-level alerts, payments, fraud prevention, and NFC.

Q: What security elements are incorporated into your application?

A: If someone losses their credit card it takes 3 days to notice, but losing a cell phone only requires 10 minutes. Plus, new services now allow you to call and remotely wipe a device with the touch of a button.

Q: How likely are biometrics to become a component?

A: We have a long way to go before they would be main-stream in the U.S.

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

A: The operating system makes stuff easier and can be performed in less time, but the iPhone hasn’t really changed our approach. It has become a showcase for the current and future possibilities of how applications can work on all handsets. The key thing to remember is that on an iPhone or any other handset alerts/text messaging is the #1 interaction.

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

A: I’ve been the CEO of Clairmail for 6-7 months and there haven’t been any big surprises. However, I am gratified by the industry’s hearty appetite for the addition of mobile banking services even when budgets are tight and new project initiatives are scrutinized closely.

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

A: I expect there will be more activity around mobile payments. It’s a great story and focused on moving dollars around at the bank. As for NFC, there are only 3 devices in the U.S. that can support the service, and nothing will happen overnight. We need lots of standards and they will evolve very slowly over time.

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

A: Our customers are experiencing strong adoption. However, banks that do receive low adoption simply need to do more to facilitate enrollment throughout their business.

There are really two keys:
1) Banks need to see mobile banking as a “game-changing” channel. Smartphones are evolving quickly and the opportunity is larger than online banking.
2) Vendors need to do a better job of teaching bankers how to drive adoption.

This article is the third in a series of eight interviews I conducted with CEOs/Directors of the most popular mobile banking vendors in the U.S. Click either of these links to view the previous articles on Scott Moeller (MShift) or Adam Clark (MCOM).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mobile Banking Updates - Aug 13

Consumers Want Person-to-Person Payments Services From Banks
"CashEdge has announced results from its fourth annual Consumer Online Banking Survey saying it 'demonstrated an increasing demand for simple, secure person-to-person (P2P) payment services and the preference by consumers to get these services from their financial institution, rather than an independent service such as PayPal. Conducted annually by CashEdge, the study examines the behavior and preferences of more than 850 consumers nationwide aged 18 years and older who use online banking capabilities.'"

Monitise Strikes Partnership to Extend 'Mobile Money' Across Africa and the Middle East
"Monitise, the world's leading mobile banking services provider, is extending its business further into Africa and the Middle East with a joint venture with Paynet, an electronics payment company. The agreement, signed in principle, combines the strengths of Monitise and Paynet to give millions of people access to banking and financial services on their mobile phones."

Wallet of the future? Your mobile phone
"The mobile phone is staging a coup. Some analysts say that within five years, mobile phones in the United States will be able to make electronic payments, open doors, access subways, clip coupons and possibly act as another form of identification. These futuristic uses for phones are becoming reality in countries like South Korea and Japan, which typically are ahead of the United States when it comes to mobile technology."

Fundamo, Clickatell Partner to Deliver Mobile Banking Solutions to Global Financial Providers
"As emerging economies continue to pioneer the adoption of mobile banking, two leading mobile services providers, Clickatell and Fundamo, have partnered to deliver mobile banking solutions to financial services institutions to help fulfill what will become a US$5 billion opportunity in the next three years, according to McKinsey & Company."

Lots of Fail With CitiBank’s New Mobile Web Site
"Citibank, the fifth largest U.S. bank in deposits, recently launched a mobile web site. Read more about it on the bank’s promotional page. This should be good news. Most of the other big banks launched mobile web based online banking sites a couple years ago."

Mobile banking, what it is and how it works
"Some time ago people could not imagine that they would use wireless handsets to perform banking operations. Today it is something ordinary if you send an SMS message to inquire your account balance at your bank. Mobile banking while not yet available or at least affordable in many countries of the world is wide spread among bank consumers in developed nations."

How can one get excited about an iPhone image of a check?
"As part of my job, I am regularly exposed to great innovations in the mobile banking domain. Recently, when I read about the USAA iPhone application (Read here and many, many more places), I first thought someone was pulling my leg."

Credit Union Center Offers Mobile Banking
"CO-OP Mobile allows credit union members to access their accounts using their mobile phone. Utilizing CO-OP’s Next Generation Network, the mobile application provides secure, encrypted transactions without storing personal information on the members phone."

ClairMail Powers Mobile Banking for Veridian Credit Union
"The ClairMail mobile banking solution will enable Veridian Credit Union members to access their accounts via multiple modes on a single device, empowering them with greater control over their personal finances. Members can perform a variety of activities including checking account balances, transferring funds and viewing their transaction history."

Mobile Banking Poised for Rapid Growth
"A new report from IDC Financial Insights emphasizes that banks need to prepare themselves today for the imminent wave of mobile adoption to avoid being left behind by competitors. The study indicates that while current economic conditions may have curtailed both consumers' demand for mobile banking and banks' willingness to invest in it in the short term, things are still moving forward."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mobile Banking: Adam Clark of MCOM

This article contains the notes from my interview with Adam Clark (CEO - MCOM) and is very timely with the announcement this morning that Key Bank has selected Fiserv and MCOM as their mobile banking provider. To learn more about Adam Clark click here to visit the MCOM website.

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

A: Completeness and Certainty are the differentiators that set MCOM apart. Certainty comes in the form for history. MCOM has strong execution and years of experience at providing mobile banking solutions. Completeness in providing all access modes and experience in mobile payments through international deployments. Plus, a strong relationship with a large organization such as Fiserv.

MCOM also has the greatest market reach by providing solutions for non-online banking customers. This allows the institution to obtain higher adoption, more usage, and facilitates the migration of clients away from high-cost channels. In the end, it’s all about the FI knowing that they’re working with a partner that has driven adoption and ROI. The days of being first or doing something just because it’s sexy are over. Today it’s all about real returns.

Q: Who are your key clients?


A: Our key clients include:
• Key Bank
• Washington Mutual/Chase
• Delta Community Credit Union
• Bangkok Bank Ltd. (#1 in Southeast Asia)
• Australia
ANZ, Westpac, National Bank, GE Money, Western Union

Q: Who are you key partners?

A: Our key partners are:
• Fiserv
• Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) (India)
• Mesiniaga (Malaysia)
• First Data (Australia)
• Fawry (Egypt)
• Microsoft
• Western Union

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: The expense of a mobile banking solution is across the spectrum from a few dollars per user a year up to several dollars per user a month. Yet, you don’t want to work with a cheap vendor that’s still testing and trying to figure out the bugs in their system.

The key is to look for a vendor that will help you achieve a positive ROI by the second year. You want reasonable pricing and a vendor that’s so confident in their solution that they’re willing to take a risk on your adoption.

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

A: Our data reveals that 70% of mobile transactions are “Net New” which means that we’re cannibalizing 30% of transactions that would have gone to the IVR, CSC, or ATM. In fact, one of our customers did a retention study on Gen Y consumers (18-24 year olds) and found that retention went from 85% (15% churn) to 93%. If you consider the average cost of customer acquisition and consumer profitability, that is a massive bottom line impact. >> Read Full White Paper

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

A: We can’t disclose the total number of active mobile banking users, but here’s some information we can provide. It’s essentially a given that you’ll hit 2-3% adoption without any effort and 5% adoption will require very little effort. In contrast, an institution with strong resources and sustained effort can reasonably achieve 7-9% in just the first year.

A good adoption estimate is 5% a year for 5 years totaling 25%. But remember it’s not how much money you spend on marketing. It’s about the effort put behind the solution. The strong performers focus on usage behaviors and data to boost growth.


Q: What’s your highest client adoption %

A: One client has achieved 25% adoption of active online banking users in just 3 months.

Q: What’s your lowest client adoption %

A: One client that considered the project complete at launch has only achieved 2-3%.

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

A: It’s really based on demographics, devices and many other factors. The best way to begin is to figure out what you want to achieve, and then to put in a solution that appeals to that segment. For instance:
• Notoriety – iPhone and Android
• Youth Focus - iPhone and SMS
• Small Business – Browser or Application

Ideally, you need a mobile banking solution that appeals to a broad set of your customer base. You should deploy an enterprise solution that allows customers to use any phone and any method they prefer. The MCOM platform allows you to customize the solution for the device, because you don’t want to give a Blackberry experience to an iPhone User or vice versa.

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

A: We see the usual patterns of most value from balance and transaction information, followed by threshold and scheduled alerts. What is interesting in terms of the latest data is that transfers (about 20% of users), bill payments (about 20% of users) and P2P payments (just under 10% of users) are all growing disproportionately to adoption. To me this means that consumers are getting comfortable with the mobile channel and starting to adopt ‘riskier’ transactions. We saw this with online banking, so it is no surprise.

Q: What security elements are incorporated into your application?

A: MCOM believes that security is incredibly important and focuses on authentication, encryption, and educating the clients. And it’s important to note that perception is just as important. You need a product that gives the client the feeling of comfort and security, and that’s why MCOM is moving to a system where customers will be provided with a choice of security.

There will be global rules that the banks set, and then consumer based rules within those constraints. For example Bank XYZ will set a threshold of $500/day yet the client could specify that anything over $200 requires a second factor of authentication.

It’s a constant trade off between usability and security, and we believe that consumers need to be involved with that decision. An institution can’t force everyone to use voice or finger id, because some clients will just take their business elsewhere.

Q: How likely are biometrics to become a component?

A: Today MCOM is working on biometrics security for an international deployment. One benefit of working with MCOM is that you’ll receive mobile banking enhancements before other FIs because MCOM is building them for other countries that are further along.

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

A: In the mobile payments space the iPhone has changed the balance of power in the industry. The carriers used to be very assertive, but the iPhone and the App store were able to rapidly erode that control.

In the mobile banking space the iPhone improved the maturity in the U.S. market. The mainstream mobile user has evolved from being primarily a voice user to voice, text, web, applications and much more. The iPhone has grown adoption.

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

A: There haven’t been many surprises. MCOM came from overseas and the market has moved relatively slowly.

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

A: The next 12 months in the U.S. will be about ”Getting it Right.” The large, mid and small tier banks will move beyond trial/testing into sustainable and profitable execution. We will see an increase in adoption and will see some dabbling in P2P and stickers, but not much in NFC except some closed loop launches.

In the international space the focus will be around banking the unbanked. Plus, significant volumes of payments and advancement of P2P, Prepaid, and TopUp. These markets will also witness earlier strides toward NFC.

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

A: It’s fundamental that someone at the FI wakes up caring that they have more users today than they did yesterday. Institutions need someone that takes ownership and is paid and incented to drive adoption and growth.

Next, the product owner needs the resources to put the strategy in effect. This effort should focus on profitable segments and should be executed in a targeted and cost effective manner. This does not require spending millions of dollars.

Focus on mining the data. Make offers based on successful scenarios
1) Try to move people that frequent ATMs for a balance to mobile banking
2) Someone calls into the CSC for a balance. The agent should be able to suggest and enroll the client for mobile banking on the spot.

USAA Mobile Remote Capture



Bank Will Allow Customers to Deposit Checks by iPhone
"The Internet has taken a lot of the paperwork out of banking, but there is no avoiding paper when someone gives you a check. Now one bank wants to let customers deposit checks immediately — through their phones.

USAA, a privately held bank and insurance company, plans to update its iPhone application this week to introduce the check deposit feature, which requires a customer to photograph both sides of the check with the phone’s camera."

Mobile Banking Updates - Aug 10

The text message is money
"Text messaging started as a popular way to send short notes; then photographs and video. Next — money. A report by Javelin Strategy & Research Inc. issued last month said that person-to-person, or P2P, mobile money transfers are on the rise and that financial institutions must step in or carriers will dominate the market. The report said 26 million consumers are 'likely or extremely likely' to use this service, up 24 percent from 2008."

Mobile Phones eroding the influence of Banks in Africa
"Mobile banking is likely to erode the influence of traditional banks in the long run. This is because many Tanzanians access mobile phones whose banking services are easily accessible compared with those of traditional banks where customers have to queue in halls for services. More than 30 per cent of Tanzanians own mobile phones while less than 10 per cent own bank accounts."

BBVA Compass Mobile Banking
"Compass Mobile – Banking When and Where You Want It! Free Mobile Banking for your iPhone and iPod touch.* Compass Mobile is a fast, easy and totally convenient way to manage your BBVA Compass accounts."

How tech is changing banks
"It wasn't long ago that bank customers judged the quality of their local financial institutions by the sturdiness of their columns and vault doors. That idea is a throwback to an era when money was physical, and so was security"

Google Voice for iPhone to Reemerge as Web App
"Last month, Google Voice’s iPhone application was rejected from the iPhone app store, a controversial move that the FCC is looking into. Now, it appears that Google (Google) may be working to circumvent Apple and AT&T, or at least seriously force their hand, by developing an iPhone optimized web application for Google Voice."

KeyBank Chooses Mobile MoneySM from Fiserv as Mobile Financial Services Platform

Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV), the leading global provider of financial services technology solutions, announced today that Cleveland-based KeyBank, with assets of approximately $98 billion, has chosen Mobile MoneySM from Fiserv to support the bank’s strategic growth plans for the mobile channel. A primary factor in the bank’s selection of Fiserv was the company’s ability to deliver a full range of customer-focused, innovative mobile solutions which will complement and easily integrate with the bank’s other services and infrastructures. >> Continue Reading

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mobile Banking Updates - Aug 9

Zoompass Mobile App for iPhone is Here
"Like all mobile phone users, iPhone users have always been able to use the browser on their phone to access their Zoompass account. But now you can use a dedicated application to access your Zoompass account through your iPhone anytime, anywhere. Instantly send and receive money, request money, check your account balance, track transactions, and more! The Zoompass app for iPhone has a nifty contact manager to help you sync your Zoompass account with the contacts already in your iPhone so you can Zoom money to anyone in your address book with just a few keystrokes."

A Look at Obopay: Mobile Payments Pioneer is Sticking to Its Knitting
"Obopay’s solution allows consumers to make payments to other consumers, by sending an SMS message with their mobile phones. Obopay operates on either a prepaid basis (you fund an Obopay account, and then send funds out of that account) or on a transactional basis – each outbound payment is separately funded. In the prepaid case, funding can be either by credit or debit card, or by an ACH transaction “pulled” from your bank account. The transactional basis requires credit or debit card funding."

Dispatch from Tanzania: Informal Value Transfers via Mobile

"These past few weeks we’ve been focused on Tanzania’s experience with mobile banking. We’re not alone. Gunnar Camner and Emil Sj√∂blom recently spent three months in Tanzania for their master’s thesis in Media Technology at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. Their study attempts to investigate mobile banking services from a user perspective. In which contexts do alternative uses, e.g. savings, become popular and why? The final report will be presented during autumn 2009 and made available at the project blog: http://valuablebits.com. Meanwhile, they sent us this dispatch."

City University Ploughs £135K into Mobile Banking
"£135,000 of funding has been provided to City University London from the Government’s UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI). The university has a team of the university’s informatics and engineering specialists who intend to use the funds to develop new and improved security measures to mobile banking"

ECIC Holdings, Lime to launch mobile banking services in the Caribbean

"Caribbean telecommunications operator Lime, a subsidiary of the British-based company Cable & Wireless, has partnered with a number of local financial services providers to launch a mobile banking service, online news outlet sknvibes.com reports."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mobile Banking: Scott Moeller of MShift

In July I had the opportunity to interview Scott Moeller (CEO of MShift), and these are my notes from the conversation. To learn more about Scott please click here to visit the MShift.com website.

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

A: Our differentiator is experience and history. We have been building mobile banking solutions since 1999 and two of our U.S. clients, Patelco and Golden 1, have been live since 2000-2001.

A bit of history – in 2000 Mshift received a Series B investment from MTI, the largest supplier of mobile phone content in Japan. And since the U.S. market wasn’t ready, the majority of our revenue from 2001 to 2007 came from 100+ deployments in Japan. This experience helped us to become “lean and mean” because in Japan quality control is huge, and you don’t launch a product as a beta.

Because of this experience, the MShift technology was able to leap generations ahead; for instance, the ability to take information and reconfigure “on the fly” for the device was patented by MShift in 2005. It’s the difference between building a car with the assistance of an assembly line vs. trying to build each by hand. Today we’re able to deploy in days/weeks instead of months/quarters, as our competition.

Q: Who are your key clients?

A: Some of our largest clients are Capital One, M&I, Patelco CU, Golden 1 CU, and North Carolina State Employees CU. Plus, we have over 200 mobile banking deployments in the U.S. today including:
• One Top 5 bank
• Two of the Top 10 banks
• Eight of the Top 25 credit unions

Q: Who are you key partners?

A: We have multiple resellers but I can’t promote the partners because of confidentiality agreements.

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: The only time a mobile banking solution is expensive is when you’re working with a custom design. The MShift installation fee is very minimal because we want to eliminate the barriers to entry. We decided that launching a mobile solution shouldn’t require approval from a budget committee. As of 2009 MShift has also incorporated all 3 channels (Browser, SMS, and Application) into our offering.

For the monthly fee, we believe in “success based” pricing and financial institutions only pay for active users of the solution. You don’t pay when it’s not used and institutions can realize additional benefits for increased usage.

Also, be sure to ask - how will it make me money?

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

A: Credit Unions and Regional Banks like mobile banking because they have fewer ATMs and this is a way for clients to check their balance. We’re currently working to collect tangible data for white papers.

Also, we’ll be revealing new technology in September that will allow FIs the ability to track/data mine all elements of the mobile offering and then produce graphical reports that will be delivered on a monthly basis. This will be HUGE in assisting product managers in presenting a compelling case for the viability of the channel. To learn more be sure to attend Finovate in New York this September.

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

A: We have roughly 2 million users across our FIs today. We’re in a mass adoption cycle right now and the catalyst was the iPhone. In fact, we have some clients that are seeing adoption increases of 20-25% per month.

Q: What’s your highest client adoption %

A: One of our best performing institutions is BankPlus in Mississippi with adoption near 20%. View the BankPlus 2Go Commercial.

Q: What’s your lowest client adoption %

A: We have a client in San Francisco with adoption near 1.5-2.0% but mobile banking is not a focus and they don’t promote the product.

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

A: For the Gen Y segment you must have mobile banking. This segment is now graduating college, entering the workface and beginning to make money. This is an important segment. We also see data to show that Gen X clients are open to the technology and using it in conjunction with current channels. Finally, the Boomers, we’ve been surprised by how are using the product, and they are also some of the most compelling advocates for mobile banking applications.

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

A: Balance is number one followed by requests for transaction history and bill payments. We see some clients using the product 8-12 times per month but the average is near 3-4 times per month. For speed SMS is very valuable, but we believe this is likely to fade in coming years.

Q: What security elements are incorporated into your application?

A: Mobile banking is as secure, if not more secure, than the traditional online banking applications. There’s also specific security that Mshift has built into the solution for the mobile users; plus, another level of security built into the Mshift architecture, but we can’t disclose the details.

There are concerns with the idea that clients are carrying around small computers. Viruses, worms and malware will become more compelling to hackers as platforms grow in size, but the key is making sure to enable access without creating a bunch of road blocks. Too many road blocks will hurt adoption

Q: How likely are biometrics to become a component?

A: Biometrics might be incorporated into hardware for healthcare or defense applications but it won’t be as important for mobile banking. Today ATM transactions only require a 4 digit PIN.

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

A: The iPhone is a “game changer.” This is the first time that the average consumer could access the web from their mobile device. Now the mobile device is used as a phone but more often used for text, web, calendar and more. Remember, we’re the last generation to understand the world BEFORE the internet. My 3 ½ year old son is teaching himself how to spell with a $0.99 app. When the app store hit – the opportunity was realized. It allowed MShift to focus on the U.S. market.

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

A: My biggest surprise is that we no longer need to educate banks on the importance of mobile banking – banks GET IT! We were initially afraid that banks might skip mobile during the recession but they haven’t. Sales have become incredibly easy. Mobile banking is now a necessity.

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

A: Today when we leave home we need our phone, wallet and keys but that will change. The mobile wallet will become more prominent, but it will take five years to evolve. This could also impact Visa and Mastercard. The carriers and/or FIs could give them a run for their money.

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

A: To become more successful banks need to work in conjunction with their vendor and do a better job of leveraging their data. Also, you do need all 3 mobile banking channels so that the customers can decide which solution they want to use. The mobile browser (i.e. MShift) will be relevant for years – it’s umbrella coverage. Downloadable solutions are in high demand today, and SMS is really important today but will be greatly diminished in 3 years.

Budgeting for Mobile Banking?

We are on the cusp of the 2010 budget season, and I decided to launch an initiative to make your lives a little easier. Starting tomorrow I'll begin publishing my notes from interviews that I've conducted over the last month with presidents, CEOs and directors of the largest mobile banking vendors in the U.S. During the interviews I asked questions related to: pricing, ROI, security, adoption, platform differentiators, key clients, key partners, demographics, usage, the future of mobile banking and the iPhone. To be fair I'll publish my notes in the order in which the interviews were performed:

1) Scott Moeller - MShift
2) Adam Clark - MCOM
3) Pete Daffern - Clairmail
4) Steve Kietz - Mobile Money Ventures
5) Tripp Rackley - Firethorn
6) Lisa Stanton - Monitise
7) Drew Sievers - mFoundry
8) Cameron Franks - Sybase

Also, as you may have noticed over the last few months, the Mobile Banking Blog has been working hard to raise money for the St. Jude Childrens hospital; yet, our success has been limited a tough economy. Until now! Today, I'm proud to announce that a mobile banking vendor has offered to make a donation to the charity in exchange for the placement of a banner ad on the site and I've gladly said - YES. The St. Jude Children's Hospital is the premier research center for pediatric cancer, and St. Jude is the only center where "no child is ever denied treatment because of the family's inability to pay." >> Learn More

Mobile Banking Updates - Aug 4

Payments the new competition battleground in banking
"Today’s announcement by Woolworths that it is to move into mobile telco services with Optus paves the way for the retailer to offer debit and/or loyalty card products via mobile devices. It’s no secret that Woolworths has ambition to issue more cards, and since it wound down its EzyBanking relationship with the Commonwealth Bank, it has embarked on a relationship with HSBC to issue financial products, including the Everyday Money credit card."

Intuit GoPayment for iPhone Now Available on iTunes App Store
"Intuit has announced that its Intuit GoPayment application - providing the ability to process credit card payments using an iPhone or iPod touch - is now available on the iTunes App Store. According to Intuit, 'the free download turns iPhone or iPod touch into an affordable and hassle-free credit card terminal.'"

MoneyGram, Affinity Global Services Launch Mobile Money Transfer Service
"MoneyGram International and Affinity Global Services have announced an agreement 'that will enable mobile money transfer receives in important markets around the globe, bringing greater convenience and extending the benefits of MoneyGram services to a new category of consumers. The MoneyGram and Affinity Global Services alliance will allow consumers to use MoneyGram’s agent network of over 180,000 locations around the world to send money to an account associated with a mobile device.'"

Securing Mobile Payments - It's Still Early
"Mobile payments are exciting, no question about it. The very idea of allowing consumers to buy stuff anywhere, at any time, with the touch of a button, gets retail, banking and communications executives to the point where you almost have to hose them down. So, what better way to ruin the party than to bring up security and compliance issues?"

Western Union Moves to Further its Mobile Presence
"As Western Union's (Englewood, Colo.) offerings widen to the mobile channel, it decided to launch an initiative that it says will help strengthen the brand and present a more consistent feel to its users worldwide. The Digital Vendor Program is intended to extend the reach and accessibility of Western Union Money Transfer services to mobile finance initiatives in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia."

Apple iPhone can be hacked via SMS system invisibly for a user
"Security experts at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, one of the world`s top forums for exchanging information on computer security threats, said that iPhones are not entirely secure and warned Apple of flaws that hackers can exploit to take control of the popular device, using the tactic for identity theft and other crimes."

Payment via mobile catches on
"PAYMENT through mobile phones is fast catching on in Malaysia, thanks to the high mobile penetration rate and quest for convenience. Realising this, many banks are making a beeline to offer mobile payment services."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mobile Banking Updates - Aug 2

Will the Apple Tablet be the ultimate portable netbook ever?
"Rumors about Apple Tablet device are everywhere last few days. Some say it will be released late this year, some say early 2010. But no one really knows other than few people at Apple.

But all in all Apple Tablet promises to be the ultimate device to consume the digital content on the go through a web-centric operating system. It is set to feature a 9.7-inch touchscreen, will include a camera and a microphone like the iSight on MacBook and MacBook Pro, and will have the anytime and anywhere Internet connection."

Javelin: U.S. Consumers’ Interest in Using Mobile Person-to-Person Payments Grows Rapidly, Threatening Slow-Moving Banks
"Javelin Strategy & Research today released a report that indicates financial institutions must act now to implement person-to-person mobile solutions before carriers capture the market. The report, Mobile Person-to-Person Payments: Mounting Telco Activity in a Mobile Channel Segment That Financial Institutions Can’t Afford to Lose, also reveals that conditions are growing ripe for potential widespread consumer use of mobile devices to send payments between one another: smartphones are now used by 17 percent of consumers, mobile banking is used by many, and use of the internet for banking and shopping has been common for years. These are just some of the conditions that have created an increased likelihood that consumers will soon begin to use mobile person-to-person (P2P) transfers."

Chinese Firm Writes First SMS Worm
"It’s a pretty cool concept, abusing the Symbian Express Signing procedure. It reminds me of the heydays of self-propagating e-mail worms when corporate e-mail servers were getting flooded because everyone in the company was sending the same attachment to everyone else in their address book."

Islamic Finance and Mobile Banking: Could, Would, Should
"Islamic Banking has developed rapidly over the last 30 years. Islamic Banks have proliferated in number and in geographic reach, with services now offered regularly on four continents. A number of innovative, successful financial products have also been developed, enabling Shariah compliant bonds, mortgages and savings accounts."

Traditional Texts Hang Tough in a Sea of Innovation
"Even in mobile banking, traditions die hard. While smart phones get exponentially smarter and app stores burst at the seams like FAO Schwartz in December, banks and consumers are not only still using basic text messaging-the mode is maturing to mainstream status."

ClairMail Sees Record 700% Year-Year Increase
"ClairMail, Inc., the leader in proactive mobile banking and payment solutions, today announced that its core product, the ClairMail Solution, has experienced over a 700 percent year-over-year increase in monthly mobile banking transactions. ClairMail's success continues to outpace the mobile banking industry, which experienced a six-fold usage increase in 2008, according to recent published reports."

Wells Fargo Introduces Online Same Day Payments
"Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC - News) today announced the nationwide availability of its newest online bill pay feature, which allows customers to make “just in time” online bill payments to merchants, such as utility, auto finance and mortgage companies. The service helps customers avoid missing payments or making late payments. According to Javelin Strategy & Research, nearly three out of four consumers initiated expedited payments last year and use is expected to continue to rise in the next five years."

One in 63 Smartphones Infected by Mobile Spyware and Malware
"The study of 1,958 smartphones revealed infections by Spyware, Viruses Worms and Trojans, as well as hundreds of unlicensed software programs installed on the handsets reviewed. A comparison of these statistics to the worldwide smartphone population places the number of infected devices globally into the millions. Because the vast majority of these infections are designed to be stealthy and the fact that few smartphones posses Anti-Malware applications, most infected users are completely unaware their devices have been compromised."

Citibank Launches Citi Mobile(R) For Smartphones
"Checking your account balance or paying a bill used to involve a trip to the bank, and in recent years, logging on to your home PC. Today, Citibank is making banking easier than ever for its U.S. customers by expanding its mobile offering to smartphones, including most BlackBerry(R) smartphones, Palm(R) devices and iPhone(TM)( )mobile devices. Now, more Citibank customers can access and manage their bank accounts -- anytime and anywhere -- via their smartphone's mobile browser."