"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" 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mobile Banking Security - July 30

5 ways to keep your mobile banking safe
"More consumers are buying smartphones, but they’re not embracing mobile banking at the same pace — mostly because they have a misplaced fear of it, according to a survey released Tuesday."

Is Mobile Banking Safe?
"It's the newest thing for your Smart Phone -- still, security concerns keep a lot of people from mobile banking. While banks are doing their part, some experts says a Smart Phone is only as safe as the consumer using it. It didn't take long to find someone who uses mobile banking."

How to Get Over Mobile Banking Fears
"Don’t fear mobile banking. More consumers are buying smartphones, but they’re not embracing mobile banking at the same pace – mostly because they have a misplaced fear of it, according to several studies by research firm Javelin Strategy & Research. In 2009, 26% of smartphone owners were uncomfortable using their phones for banking. A year later, that number jumped to 40%, according to the firm."

Research and Markets: Smartphone Banking Security: Mobile Banking Utilization Stalls On Consumer Fears
"Mobile banking adoption has stagnated despite explosive growth in smartphone adoption from 2009 to 2011. In 2009, one in four smartphone owners considered mobile banking unsafe. One year later, 40% of smartphone owners felt the same way. As financial institutions push forward, offering innovative and convenient financial options to a new mobile generation, consumers are left questioning whether security was sacrificed in the rush toward innovation. In the context of the recent infiltration of malware into the Android Market, it is imperative that FIs reassure consumers that mobile security is a priority."

Don't bank on your phone to evade virus
"No one knows who lies behind Zeus, the notorious malware. Security experts believe he or she is Russian, but no one is completely sure. But what they all agree is that Zeus is the most pernicious "trojan horse" - a destructive program disguised as an application - on the internet. During the last four years it has infected millions of PCs, taking control of the computer and stealing personal banking details."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mobile Banking Updates - July 22

Gartner casts shadows on mobile banking
"Gartner's senior analyst for the financial sector has cast doubts on whether Australian banks should invest heavily in mobile banking applications and near field communication (NFC) payment systems.

Gartner vice president David Furlonger told the Banktech summit in Sydney this week that banks have struggled to profit from such ventures. Furlonger said that globally, most users of mobile banking applications are still only using the apps for checking account balances rather than making genuine transactions."

EBay Bets $240M on Mobile Banking
" EBay Inc. announced Thursday that it has agreed to pay $240 million in cash to acquire Zong, a provider in payments through mobile carrier billing. The purchase will support eBay’s efforts to further their mobile commerce by offering PayPal users an additional way to pay for merchandise and products. Zong hosts connections with more than 250 mobile network operators across the world and offers secure mobile payment capabilities in 45 countries."

42 Percent of US Consumers with Handheld Devices Satisfied with Mobile Banking
"YouGov Plc. and Antenna Software, Inc. recently conducted an online survey to map the usage of the mobile banking though handheld devices like mobile phones, smartphones and tablets. After the survey of more than 2,000 respondents, the results showed that more than one in three US consumers with handheld devices uses mobile banking."

Survey shows 38% of smartphone owners use a banking app
"There’s been one quote that has stuck in mind about mobile banking in Canada. It was from Bob Hedges of Mercatus who in February 2010 stated that Canadians are “at the tipping point in terms of adoption” and “over the next five years this will become more important than online banking”. It’s been a slow adoption rate thus far but it’s certainly increasing. Last week it was PayPal Canada that came out with stats that showed 34% of those surveyed would rather carry a mobile phone to make a payment than a pocket full of change."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mobile Banking Updates - July 21

PNC to Launch Virtual Wallet Android App by October
"In a post to PNC's 'Inside the Wallet' blog, which is visible from within a Virtual Wallet online banking session, PNC's Michael Ley said that "our plan for the new app is to have all the key features you have read about in the iPhone app," including mobile check deposit, a feature the iPhone app received in April.

PNC's existing Android app for its mainstream checking customers has been criticized in reviews on the Android Market for lacking features such as mobile check deposit. One reviewer said an Android app for PNC's Virtual Wallet account, which is targeted to online-centric users, is 'sorely needed.'"

Banks Scrambling To Meet Customers' Demands For More Mobile Banking
"Consumers who are using their smartphones to check the balances of their savings accounts or checking account or using a mobile web browser to check current mortgage rates may soon be able to conduct an even wider range of banking activities on their mobile devices.

A recent study by Luth Research found that 19 percent of all cell phone users are using their phones to bank--whether it's to check activity on their money market account or to compare refinance rates. That number is expected to grow to 22 percent in the next year, and banks will be responding by rolling out new Web-based options and mobile banking applications. The Luth study said mobile Web-browser banking will grow from 11 percent to 14 percent and banking via apps will grow from 5.5 percent to 8.5 percent."

Mobile Banking from Nationwide Bank®
"Your Nationwide Bank account is just a tap on your phone or a text message away. Mobile Banking gives you three ways to access your funds – by SMS/text, mobile web browser and mobile app. It’s an easy – and secure – way for you to stay connected to your checking, savings, money market and CD accounts."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mobile Banking Updates - July 20

Mobile payments will be mainstream in a few years, KPMG survey reveals
"More major banks and large corporates are investigating how they can use mobile payments as part of their main business strategy, a new report from KPMG has revealed, with many believing that the technology could become mainstream in the next few years. The report comes as the Commonwealth Bank announced updates to its banking app suite and hinted at a rollout of near field communication technology soon."

Banks' Best Customer May Be the Stranger Who Just Walked Out the Door, Says PwC US
"Industry analysts have estimated U.S. bank revenue to grow by five percent annually, but, according to surveys conducted by PwC US, major regulatory changes and shifts in consumer spending, saving and borrowing behavior are likely to depress revenue growth, increase operating costs, and squeeze profit margins in the retail banking sector, which accounts for one-half of U.S. bank industry revenues.

Regulatory and market-driven forces have created a perfect storm of events that banking executives say will make it more costly to compete and attract new customers. According to PwC, retail banks are on the verge of a major overhaul as they adjust their growth strategies and business models, including reevaluating the role of branches, incorporating mobile banking, payments and social media and breaking down the organizational, operational and technology barriers that have prevented them from growing organically."

Mobile banking hitting the tipping point, three studies show
"Not one, not two, but three independent studies released in the past few weeks point to the same conclusion: mobile banking has become established in the retail banking sphere.

The massive appeal of smartphones and tablets is fueling mobile banking adoption, conditioned as their users have already become to other automated banking channels, such as online banking. What’s remarkable about these three studies are the similarities noted among consumers: Convenience is perceived as mobile’s greatest attraction, while concern about security is the main thing holding people back."

Interview: Mobile banking a promising industry in Africa: experts
"Mobile banking through cell phones will provide basic financial services to millions of unbanked populations in urban and rural communities in Africa, and will become a booming industry, experts told Xinhua at the ongoing Unbanked Africa Summit on Thursday in Lagos.

Mobile banking is a way of getting banking to the rural channels where banking services can not be reachable, said Badewole Oluwafemi from Nigeria's Guaranty Trust Bank. In Nigeria, there are only 22 million individuals who have a bank account out of the 150 million population, but there are more than 80 million mobile phone users, which provides huge room for the development of mobile banking, a latest media report have said."

Wallets versus Smartphones: Mobile Banking in Canada and the Cashless Future [Infographic]
"While security remains a major concern, mobile banking is nonetheless spreading like wildfire.
It appears that convenience trumps security worries as a new report reveals Canadians are adopting banking apps on their smartphone rapidly.

Well over 2.5 million Canadians are already banking on the go, according to the report by Solutions Research Group. The Toronto-based firm, which tracks emerging technology trends, noted that number represents more than a third of smartphone users with data plans—meaning that, effectively, at least one in three eligible Canadians are accessing mobile banking."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mobile Banking Updates - July 19

PNC Hints at Mobile Check Deposits for Android App by November
"PNC Bank (NYSE: PNC) customers with Android smartphones may have a reason to rejoice as the Pittsburgh-based bank plans a new application and enhanced features for Google’s mobile platform. Customers have left generally negative reviews and complained about PNC’s lackluster Android mobile banking application, which resembles a browser that directs to the mobile version of the bank’s website. Meanwhile, the PNC Mobile Banking and Virtual Wallet by PNC apps for Apple iOS devices are full-fledged apps that even offer the convenience of a mobile check deposit feature."

Location, coupons and mobile banking are Nokia's strategic services
"We’ve all been rather blunt in writing Nokia off given their consistent drop in marketshare and inability to develop a presence in America. The company however has been slowly developing a strategy to regain its relevance. Despite the rise of Android and lesser known brands in India, Symbian holds close to 70% of the market (as of June 2011). Services built around mobile are becoming a differentiating factor for OEMs and Nokia has found three key services to focus on."

Commonwealth Bank rolls out new mobile, tablet apps
"The Commonwealth Bank today rolled out a suite of new mobile banking applications including NetBank for iPad and Android tablets, and a new CommBank mobile banking app for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7 smartphone platforms.

Citing a growing demand for mobile banking, the Commonwealth Bank says the apps focus on three key areas: simplicity, security and convenience. It said most of its users use mobile banking to check their balances, pay bills and view recent transactions and that the app caters foremost for these needs."

mFoundry Launches Columbia CU Mobile
"mFoundry, the fastest-growing mobile banking company in the U.S., today announced Columbia Credit Union, based in Vancouver, Washington, is the latest credit union to deploy mBanking, mFoundry's SaaS-based mobile banking platform.
The new Columbia CU Mobile offering leverages mFoundry's multi-mode mobile banking solution, providing Columbia Credit Union members with mobile Web, mobile apps and text banking options. Columbia CU's mobile banking applications include versions for Apple iPhone, Google Android and RIM BlackBerry devices."

A different mobile banking world
"The world of mobile financial services here in the UK is coming on leaps and bounds following recent announcements from Orange and Barclaycard, and also from O2 to bring mobile contactless applications to the masses. However, having reviewed the market in the Middle East recently, I realised that although perceived as a region full of wealth and driven by innovation, the mobile banking landscape there is worlds apart from the one people would envisage."

Mobile banking is hot in Canada
"According to the report by Toronto-based Solutions Research Group (SRG), over 2.5 million Canadians are accessing mobile banking. This represents more than a third of smartphone users with data plans. This means that, effectively, at least one in three eligible Canadians are accessing mobile banking. SRG found that most mobile bankers are male iPhone users.

This is impressive given that the first mobile bank app launched just 14 months ago. Banking apps have already surpassed news and entertainment apps, including music and video. Many of these applications have been around for almost ten years, and all were in play in 2007 when the first iPhone was introduced."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mobile Banking Updates - July 18

Banks ramping up use of mobile technology
"It looks like 2011 will bring a significant increase in the number of Connecticut banks offering mobile banking technology. The Connecticut Department of Banking recently released results from a 2010 survey of electronic banking activities in the state, which showed that less than 20 percent of state-chartered banks offered mobile banking at the end of last year."

Citigroup Hires Samsung’s Omar Khan for Mobile-Banking Position
"Citigroup Inc. (C), the third-largest U.S. bank by assets, hired Samsung Electronics Co. executive Omar Khan as global head of mobile technology. Khan joined Citigroup today and will report to Mark Torkos, chief information officer for global consumer technology, Janis Tarter, a spokeswoman for the New York-based bank, said in an e- mailed statement. Khan was chief strategy officer with Samsung’s U.S. mobile-devices unit."

Banks speed adoption of mobile banking apps
"Forget waiting in line at the ATM or filling out deposit slips at a bank counter. Instead, pull out a smartphone and check your balance online, transfer funds or deposit a check. Many banks and credit unions nowadays have an app for those type of transactions and more banks are increasing mobile banking options to meet evolving customer needs."

St George To Ramp Up Spending On Mobile Banking Applications
"Westpac subsidiary St George says it anticipates roughly 50 per cent of all customer transactions online to be undertaken by smartphones over the next 12 to 18 months, and in response, the lender is ramping up spending on its online mobile offering by tens of millions of dollars as it seeks to cater for the burgeoning Gen Y client base. Currently the volume of smartphone transactions have doubled over the last eight month and now equal the volume of transactions undertaken at 85 physical branches."

Banks get smart on mobile apps
"IT has been a long time coming, but Australia's banks have realised they must offer better native mobile apps to snare cashed-up and online-savvy Generation-X and Y customers. And we mean real native apps, not repackaged versions of those often clunky web-based mobile banking URLs that are somewhat 2009.

The meteoric success of National Australia Bank's break-up advertising campaign, measured by more than 225,000 new customers and an extra 1 per cent of the mortgage market, has underlined how fundamental the online world is for snaring new customers."

U.S. Bank and Monitise Americas Introduce Free Mobile Banking Service for ReliaCard(R) Visa Cardholders
"U.S. Bank, lead bank of U.S. Bancorp USB +0.20% , has partnered with Monitise Americas and FIS(TM) FIS +0.10% to offer a new mobile application for U.S. Bank ReliaCard Visa cardholders in 16 states. ReliaCard is a prepaid, reloadable card for those who receive recurring cash disbursements from a government agency. The new mobile application gives cardholders in various government programs convenient, free access to their accounts anywhere and anytime using their mobile phone. Last year, AccelaPay, a sister prepaid product to ReliaCard, launched mobile banking service."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mobile Banking Security

How to Build a Secure Mobile App
"As is the case with any delivery channel, security is at the forefront for banks as they rush to deploy or enhance mobile banking apps in the fast-growing smartphone market. And while many banks' mobile apps limit customers to basic functions -- checking account balances and transaction histories, finding a branch or ATM location, and initiating transfers -- a new wave of apps is bringing person-to-person payments, remote deposit capture and bill pay to the mobile channel. Simply, the apps are getting smarter and more capable. But with those capabilities comes the potential for greater threats."

Mobile Banking Phishing Malware Comes To Android, Removed From Market
"The international cybercrime ring known as Zbot or ZeuS and the creators of the Zeus toolkit are back, this time targeting Android users. The ZeuS toolkit is bank information stealing malware that has already come to Symbian, Windows Mobile and Blackberry in the form of a trojan. The ZeuS team has created a survey form that installs a malware into your phone once you take the survey that is supposedly from a security company called Trusteer."

Mobile banking apps lead to new security issues
"When it comes to mobile banking via apps, it's pretty clear that security professionals need to embrace a whole new mindset. No longer can they be content to confine themselves to such well-known "technologies" such as Trojans, bots, phishing methods and the like. They need to understand that the emerging face of fraud will offer whole new challenges."

Aussie banks divided over mobile security education
"Some of the big four banks are divided over claims by a National Australia Bank (NAB) fraud specialist that more needs to be done to educate customers about the risks of banking using mobile devices.

Speaking during a roundtable at the Banktech conference in Sydney this week, NAB head of fraud operations and investigations, Grant Baxter, said educating consumers was an "absolute challenge" for the bank because some customers did not understand the capabilities of their smartphone and their handset's level of security."

Mobile Banking Gets Riskier
"'Digital wallets' that let consumers pay with the swipe of a smartphone could make the plastic credit card obsolete. But the technology also could chip away at consumers' privacy—and tempt them to spend more than they otherwise would.

Using a technology known as 'near-field communications,' or NFC, consumers will be able to buy items simply by passing their phones in front of a sensor at the checkout counter. Though NFC isn't available in many phones yet, a number of companies, including Google Inc., are close to rolling out programs."

Jailbroken phones not safe for banking
"Fraud experts have called on the finance industry to consider banning connections to online banking services from jailbroken devices, as the sector struggles to handle rising levels of electronic fraud.

While insecure transaction processes contributed significantly to electronic fraud, financial institutions were fearful of insecure mobile platforms. They were most concerned about users who jailbroke their devices, a process which granted user access to the device's root directory, allowing them to install applications and trigger settings not vetted by Apple."

Safer mobile transactions
"Last week ("More on biometrics") I recommended "biometric recognition as well as using passwords and SMS codes" for more secure mobile banking transactions. Long time reader Patrick O'Kane (he's chief architect for identity and access management services at Unisys) pointed me to a solution that does just that.

IdentityX, from Reston, Va.'s Daon, claims that using your smartphone, it can enable you to securely establish your identity through a combination of encryption, PIN entry, location-based technology, and biometrics such as voice, face and palm image matching. The company further claims that IdentityX is a fully mobile, private and cost-effective solution that allows you to set the level of security for each type of transaction -- thereby tuning the balance of convenience and security."

Mobile Banking Fraud Part #2: Fraud Detection Essentials
"In an earlier post, I discussed vulnerabilities associated with mobile devices that drive up fraud risk for banking and payments made through these devices. These range from malicious apps, to network security issues, to targeted man in the middle attacks. So, what can be done to counteract these vulnerabilities?

One option is to look to fraud detection residing on the mobile itself. You could monitor phone behavior patterns—in terms of calls made, time/day of week patterns, apps accessed, and browser behavior—to determine whether there is a change in usage patterns indicative of someone else using the phone or a malicious app."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mobile Banking Updates - Jul 7

Regulators Update Online-Authentication Guidance, But What About Mobile?
"Federal banking regulators on Tuesday updated their 2005 guidance about authentication for Internet banking. Officially a supplement to the original guidance, the new document addresses social media, malware, and other security issues that have cropped up in recent years. It also allows financial institutions about seven months to comply."

Young in U.S., UK turning to mobile banking -survey
"Consumer research by mobile web and application specialists Antenna said 40 percent of those who accessed the Internet via mobile phones or tablet computers in the U.S. were using mobile banking services. That compared with 25 percent in Britain.

The United States was also ahead in terms of how many users were accessing banking sites via a specific mobile application created by the bank, as opposed to reaching a mobile site via a browser on the Internet."

25% of smartphone owners use mobile banking
"25 per cent of UK mobile internet users now utilise mobile banking services, according to online consumer research released today by mobile web and app specialists Antenna. With the number of mobile-internet enabled handsets continuing to grow worldwide, banks that address the demand for both mobile apps and mobile web usage will have the sharpest competitive edge in the battle to attract new customers."

Yankee Group Sees Global Mobile Transactions Exceeding $1 Trillion by 2015
"Yankee Group's latest Mobile Money Forecast finds the value of global mobile transactions will grow from $241 billion in 2011 to more than $1 trillion by 2015, a CAGR of 56 percent. That growth, coupled with 500 million mobile banking users around the world in the same time frame, presents an enormous opportunity for both new and established players in the mobile money ecosystem. To help companies capitalize on this rapidly evolving opportunity, Yankee Group unveiled an innovative new service today called Mobile Money Strategies (TM)."

Eric Schmidt: Mobile payments at retail to explode
"Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt is bullish on the growth of mobile payments in the coming year. Speaking at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity today, Schmidt said he believes one-third of all restaurants and retail outlets will allow for mobile payments within the next year, the Financial Times reports him as saying. He reportedly told those in attendance that that number should be enough for widespread adoption of mobile payments."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

International Mobile Banking Updates - Jul 5

Mobile banking: Take the security call
"More banks now look to offer mobile banking services. But while welcoming the convenience, security experts say safety guidelines need to be followed for the services to gain ground.

According to Gary Singh, General Manager, Nokia Mobile Payment Services, mobiles are safer than using an ATM card with a PIN. 'You need a password for the application and a separate PIN for the transaction. We also check the phone number and the IMEI code, so you have four levels of security.'”

BNZ sees fast return on mobile banking investment
"Launched via BNZ Twitter, the dual release quickly raced to the number one spot for financial apps in Apple's iTunes store.

BNZ says the uptake is gratifying, coming after the bank invested strategically in the assembly of a mobile banking software team at its head office in Wellington. The team are supported by various disciplines from across the bank and have developed the BNZ mobile banking solution from the ground up."

St George banks on mobile apps
"Monthly smartphone transaction volumes are already equivalent to those at 85 physical branches, double the figure from eight months ago.

In time, St George wants its mobile banking apps to act as a customer acquisition platform so people can apply for credit cards, personal loans and other products on their mobile devices.

The bank has 1.3 million logins and attracts about 500,000 financial transactions each month on its mobile apps, which recently underwent a revamp for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry devices."

Dutch-Bangla Bank selects Sybase 365 for m-banking In Bangladesh
"'Sybase 365's platform allows us to deliver the best possible mobile banking services to our customers,' said Abul Kashem Md. Shirin, Deputy Managing Director, DBBL. 'Bank-led mobile banking is the standard worldwide and we hope that efforts to pioneer mBanking will propel other banks to adopt similar services and accelerate the process of financial inclusion in other developing markets.'"

Monday, July 4, 2011

Mobile Banking Updates - Jul 4

Consumers Like Mobile- and Browser-Based Banking Apps Equally
"Whether it’s best to offer a mobile app versus a browser occupies a large space in the discussion among mobile bank execs, but new research suggests that consumers are using both equally, but for different purposes.

YouGov polled about 2,000 users in a survey sponsored by Antenna Software, and found penetration of browser and native apps to be about the same. The new research, which is due out this morning, found about 40 percent of smartphone owners have adopted mobile banking for at least some functions."

Research Shows 40 Percent of US Consumers With Mobile Phones, Smartphones and Tablets Embrace Mobile Banking
"A recent online survey of more than 2,000 respondents by YouGov Plc. and Antenna Software, Inc., showed that more than one in three US consumers with mobile phones, smartphones and tablets currently use mobile banking. This presents both a major growth opportunity for retail banks to increase their customer base, as well as a chance for organizations with current mobile offerings to up their game with more advanced and "sticky" mobile apps for greater customer loyalty and competitive advantage."

Mobile banking to help 2 billion people by 2020
"Mobile financial services are expected to improve the lives of around 2 billion people in developing countries within a decade and boost economies, a Boston Consulting Group study found. 'Overall, mobile financial services can reduce financial exclusion by 5 percent to 20 percent through 2020 and increase gross domestic product (GDP) by up to 5 percent, with Pakistan, for instance, potentially seeing a 3 percent uplift,' the study said."

Most active mobile banking platform? Palm Pre…
"As a certified mobile early adopter I’m laying my venerable Palm Pre to rest (sans the Bling tag that I surreptitiousness transferred to the back of a PayPal employee’s phone at a conference last week), to slumber in a drawer next to a Kyocera brickphone…I mean…smartphone that I lugged around back in the 90’s."