Below are interesting stories the Banking.com staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below.
- Mobile Banking Pioneer Firethorn Shifts Gears
In the mobile banking business, a one-size-fits-all approach just doesn’t cut it, as Firethorn Holdings LLC found out. Now the Firethorn team is focusing on a new loyalty rewards technology. The Qualcomm subsidiary, once considered a mobile banking pioneer, attracted banks that wanted their service preloaded on basic feature phones before the days of the iPhone and other app-friendly devices. It eliminated a lot of the legwork for banks, forming agreements directly with wireless carriers to get apps that aggregated access to multiple financial institutions on their latest phones. The approach helped banks go to market quickly with services and allowed consumers to perform basic tasks, like check balances.
- Beyond Mobile: Pitching Accounts via the iPad
To many banks, the tablet is just another mobile device, but some are finding that the bigger screen gives the iPad and its peers bigger potential. BB&T Corp. is among the first to do so, offering an application designed specifically for Apple Inc.’s iPad that lets prospective and existing customers open accounts, a feature rare among mobile banking apps. It also lets customers perform standard functions like check account balances, pay bills and locate automated teller machines. That the Winston-Salem, N.C., bank gave special attention to the iPad is rare in and of itself; many financial services firms have simply ported their iPhone apps to the iPad with little customization, resulting in a subpar customer experience, technology analysts said.
- High Population, High Card Debt
The states with the largest populations generally have the most credit card debt outstanding, according to new data from Equifax Inc. About 54 million Americans owe issuers more than $800 billion in card debt, according to the Atlanta credit bureau’s monthly Equifax Consumer Credit Trends Report, which it released Jan. 25. California and Texas, No. 1 and No. 2 in population according to the Census Bureau, also lead the nation in consumer card debt with $90.6 billion and $48.8 billion in total outstandings, according to Equifax. Florida, No. 4 in population, is third in card debt at $47.6 billion. Ohio, seventh in population, ranks fifth in card debt at $28.9 billion.
- Fixation on Location
TomTom… Urbanspoon… Foursquare… and in the not too distant future, your mobile banking and mobile payments applications. What’s the connection? Location-based services. First we relied on GPS to get us where we needed to go in the car, then on services like Urbanspoon to tell us what Thai joints were moderately priced and nearby. We got more social with Foursquare so we could let our friends know we were hanging out at the Laundromat and find out where we could get good deals nearby. But are we ready for our financial institutions to know where we’re visiting?
- Stuck in a ‘Groundhog Day’ repeat cycle of bad money habits? Consider 5 tips to break free
Is there a shadow cast over your financial life? Maybe that’s because you’re stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of paying too much in taxes, fees, and penalties. Many of us are like Bill Murray’s weatherman in the movie “Groundhog Day,” when it comes to managing our own money. We’re searching for a way to break through repeating the same financial mistakes and reckless habits. The good news is that greater self-awareness can help.
- Survey Finds Increasing Interest Among Consumers For Mobility in Retail
A “Mobile POS Survey,” commissioned by Honeywell and conducted by Harris Interactive online in December 2010, indicates that consumer acceptance and use of mobile technologies in retail is a rising trend. Based on the survey, a majority of adults (72%) have been offered the opportunity to check out using mobile POS. Of the 13% of early adopters that have actually checked out using a mobile POS solution, half agree that using mobile POS saves time and 43% say that paperless receipts sent via email are a good idea. Additionally, the survey found that nearly one in five adults (17%) uses credit cards for in-store purchases and would be interested in trying mobile POS.
- Taking Control in PFM
Banks are taking greater control of the personal financial management market as the third-party vendors that defined the space increasingly find they must work with banks to survive. Over the course of 2010, many pioneers in the PFM field either shut down or changed their free consumer service model to be a partnering bank vendor. Nevertheless, their run has shown banks that customers want to do more than they are able to with the rudimentary online banking systems most offer. PFM “is absolutely central to our online strategy,” says Joy Marshall, senior vice president in the Internet services group for Wells Fargo & Co.