Create Subscription-Based Banking Services for Frequent Travelers

By Jim Bruene on July 22, 2014 8:17 AM | Comments

image Having just returned from an all-too-short vacation, I continue to believe that banks are missing a lucrative opportunity to help customers reduce their financial anxiety while away from home. Following is are the financial travel services I'd love to buy as a package priced at under $10/mo (not including insurance which would likely be sold on as-needed basis).

Not only could travel services be a solid source of fee income, it puts the bank in a great position to sell add-on insurance and credit services to road warriors and frequent travelers. 

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1. Easy-to-set travel flags
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Most travelers have been trained to inform their bank about international travel plans to avoid unnecessary declines. It's a perfect feature for mobile banking, but many (most) banks still require a tedious phone call to the call center. I've written about this before (here and here) and I'm seeing some improvements, though I still had trouble earlier this month with my bank of 20+ years (see note 1 for details). I'd also like to receive an "all clear" notice upon expiration of the flag.

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2. Financial management services
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While spending like crazy on holiday, it would be nice to have the option of seeing a running total of all travel expenses (at least those that weren't prepaid). That would help us pace ourselves to keep from overspending and/or running out of cash before before we get home. Ideally, it would be nice to set up the "vacation ticker" at the same time we set the travel flag (see #1). The info should also be emailed/texted to travelers at the start of each day.

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3. Personal trip journal
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There are already some great services for managing reimbursable expenses on the road such as Expensify. But I want the same thing for personal travel. Sure, my perfect self would keep a neat journal of all the cool places we visited and dined at. But realistically, that's just not going to happen. But I'd love my card app to help me keep a "spending journal" that would be a good substitute. As each expense occurred, the app would prompt me to snap a photo and/or jot down a few words to annotate each expense as they happened. And the bank would store this "travel journals" within secure online/mobile banking for the life of the account creating a powerful retention tool. 

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4. Special travel service reps (concierge)
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Normal customer service reps aren't always that savvy on the nuances of card usage while on the road, especially overseas trips (case in point, see #1). Provide a special email/text/phone number to "financial travel specialists" to get questions answered and problems resolved.

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5. Convenient travel insurance that covers financial transaction
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Not all the opportunities are around spending. There are important avenues of risk reduction available to savvy FIs. Due to a previous bad experience, I'm always a bit concerned about the safety of my personal belongings on the road. So, I'd like to buy travel insurance that covers:
-- My personal belongings at the hotel or on my person (includes lost luggage)
-- Fraudulent use of my card details
-- Rental cars damage (not covered by my existing auto policy)

And the whole area of travel interruption is another possible avenue (see previous post).

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BONUS: Chip-and-PIN prepaid cards for USA cardholders traveling abroad
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Last week, I was that guy at the A9 toll booth making everyone back up to get over to the cash lane since none of my US cards would work in the card reader (though they did earlier in the day). This included my fancy new BofA chip-and-signature card. We had more trouble than ever with U.S. credit cards in our latest trip across the Atlantic. So, please US card issuers, sell me a prepaid card that really works in Europe. I'd pay a $100 fee (at least) just to avoid another toll-booth incident.

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Note:
1. I called my bank from the airport departure lounge to inform them I'd be using their ATM/debit card in Europe. The CSR insisted that I had to provide the last 4-digits of my checking account number before she could place a travel notice on my account. Since I was sitting at the airport without that info, we were at a standstill. Only after I asked for a supervisor did she come back and agree to do it for me.

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Categories: Fee Income, Travel

FinDEVr is Building Momentum -- Will you be part of it?

By Eric Mattson on July 13, 2014 6:14 PM | Comments
FinDEVr Logo

In late May, we were very excited announce the launch of our new event series called FinDEVr which is focused on the latest tools, APIs, and platforms for fintech builders -- i.e. developers, VPs of engineering, software architects and CTOs -- because we were sure it was a missing piece of the innovation ecosystem.

After two months and a ton of conversations, it is clear that the event has struck a nerve with the market as the response has been tremendous and momentum has been building with every week.

We already have commitments from top-notch presenting sponsors like TD Ameritrade, Yodlee, PayPal, Xero, Avoka, FinancialApps, Cardflight, Behaviosec, Mifos Initiative, Modo Payments, and Cloud Lending -- with many more to come.

In addition, tickets have been selling strongly and we're pleased to be projecting an audience of 400-500 for the debut event in San Francisco on September 30 - October 1st. The room is going to be packed with developers and technical execs from startups as well as financial institutions like CIBC, Wells Fargo, BlackRock, USAA, Capital One, and Western Union.

If you and/or your technical colleagues are interested in attending to learn about the latest innovations for fintech builders, tickets are on sale at the super early-bird price of $300 off through Friday July 25th. And if you're a company with an innovative API, platform or tool for building the next generation of fintech, we're still accepting applications to present through July 31st -- please email sanfran@findevr.com for more details.

We'll see you there!

FinDEVr San Francisco 2014's industry sponsor is: Life.SREDA

FinDEVr San Francisco 2014 is partners with: BankersHub, BayPay Forum, California Bankers Association, fin-tech.org, Hotwire, Mercator, PaymentWeek & The Paypers

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Lock in your seat to the largest FinovateFall to date!

By Eric Mattson on July 9, 2014 8:32 PM | Comments

btn3_ov.pngWith summer well underway, it means that fall is just around to corner. And that we're hard at work putting together FinovateFall 2014 which will take place on September 23 & 24 in New York City. 

Last year, FinovateFall welcomed a sold-out crowd of more than 1,100 executives. This fall, based on record-setting interest (and a slightly bigger auditorium at our new venue) we are projecting the largest FinovateFall to date (and another sell out crowd) with over 1,200 fintech innovators in attendance.

In case you're curious, here is a small sample of the great organizations already committed to attend:

  • Adobe
  • American Express
  • Bain Capital
  • Bank of America
  • Bank of Ireland
  • Bank of Montreal
  • Barclays
  • BBVA Compass
  • C1 Bank
  • Capital One
  • CIBC
  • Citi
  • Citi Ventures
  • Discover
  • Equifax
  • Everbank
  • Experian
  • FIS Global
  • Forbes
  • Gartner
  • IBM
  • Jack Henry
  • Liberty Mutual
  • MassMutual
  • MasterCard
  • MACU
  • New York Life
  • Nordea
  • Oliver Wyman
  • Paypal
  • Primerica
  • PwC
  • QED Investors
  • RBC
  • Rockland Trust
  • Route 66 Ventures
  • S&P Capital IQ
  • SAP
  • Saxo Bank
  • Sberbank VC
  • Scottrade
  • Silicon Valley Bank
  • SixThirty
  • Societe Generale
  • Sony
  • Swedbank
  • Tangerine Bank
  • TD Ameritrade
  • The Huffington Post
  • The Principal
  • Umpqua Bank
  • USAA
  • Venrock
  • Wells Fargo
  • Yankee Group
  • Zions Bank
  • And many more!

If you're interested in attending FinovateFall to watch the future of fintech unfold live on stage, tickets are now on sale at the very early-bird price but only through this Friday. Please get yours today to lock in the savings and your seat before we sell out!

We'll see you in New York in September (or in San Francisco for FinDEVr)!

FinovateFall 2014 is sponsored by: The Bancorp, CapitalSource, Financial Technology Partners, Greater St. Louis Financial Forum, Hudson Cook LLP, Life.SREDA, UK Trade & Investment, Visa

FinovateFall 2014 is partners with: Aite, ABA, Bank Innovators Council, BankersHub, Bobsguide, California Bankers Association, Canada, Celent, Filene Research Institute, Hotwire PR, Javelin Strategy, Mercator, NYPAY, Payment Week, The Paypers, SME Finance Forum, & Visible Banking

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20 Mobile Banking Landing Pages

By Jim Bruene on July 3, 2014 5:58 PM | Comments

image Last week, I caught up with the USAA folk to share thoughts on the future of mobile banking. They explained how they are converting visitors on the mobile web to their native app with a popup (interstitial) prompt (see inset). It's the first time, I've seen a bank use that desktop technique on the mobile web.

It had been more than a year since I took a tour of major banks using my phone's browser (Safari, iPhone 5, iOS7). The last time it was a relatively uninspiring. Several banks showed a mobile optimized view, but most defaulted to their desktop PC view which is unusable without tedious "pinch and zooming." And no one pushed users to the native app.

Today, that's changed dramatically. Of the 20 major mobile banking website I visited, only one (Citibank), delivered a desktop PC view (and that varied depending on which URL was used to enter the Citibank site). And 4 of the 20 pushed their mobile app heavily (and 3 more showed a download link to the app store).

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Recommendations 
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  • While there has been much talk about pushing customers to less-costly HTML5 and  responsive design mobile websites, it's still an app world (1 million and counting on iOS alone). And that's not changing if Apple has anything to say about it. If you have a native app, make sure your mobile customers know about it.
  • Every mobile web front landing page should include a prominent link (above the fold) to your native app(s). And it's not enough to simply show the Apple and Android app store logos. That's too subtle for many novice smartphone users.
  • The call to action should list at least one benefit to the native app. Facebook for instance simply says, "browser faster."
  • Test an interstitial landing page such as the one currently used by USAA. Users can choose "remind me later" if they want to defer their decision to download the app, or they can kill the interstitial permanently by choosing "no thanks."


Table: Mobile Web default view from 20 major mobile FIs
Key: Native promo = Promotes native app
Mobile web = Delivers mobile optimized view
Pinch & Zoom = No mobile optimization on main landing page, requires pinching and zooming to navigate

  Mobile Optimized View? Native App Call to Action? App Store link? Large Promo?
Native app promo        
Bank of America Yes Yes Yes Yes
Barclays (UK) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Moven Yes Yes Yes Yes
USAA Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mobile web        
American Express Yes No No No
BB&T Yes No No No
BECU Yes Yes No No
BMO Harris Yes No No No
Capital One Yes No No Yes
Chase Yes No Yes No
Fifth Third Yes No No No
ING Direct (Turkey) Yes No No Yes
Regions Yes* No No No
Schwab Yes Yes Yes No
Simple Yes No No Yes
SunTrust Yes No No No
US Bank Yes No No No
Wells Fargo Yes No Yes No
Pinch&Zoom        
Citibank Varies by URL No No No
GoBank No No No No
*Regions uses popup to provide choice of mobile view or full website
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4 Amazon Fire Smartphone Features that Should Be Used in Mobile Banking

By Jim Bruene on June 18, 2014 6:33 PM | Comments

imageSeattle was abuzz today with the launch of Amazon's long-rumored smartphone, dubbed Fire. Naturally, I look at everything through a digital banking lens. So here are its innovations that could be leveraged or imitated for mobile banking.

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1. Tilt to scroll
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imageDescription: Fire users can tilt or swivel the phone to navigate through an app. For example, on the Kindle app, users can advance the page by tilting the phone so they don't have touch the screen every time you get to the end of the page.

Mobile banking use: Tilting would make a convenient way to page through transaction records. It could also be used to open additional functions such as tagging transactions or initiating a payment (e.g., Starbucks "shake to pay").

Verdict: Until I get my hands on the phone, it's a little hard to know how useful this feature will be. But it sounds like a nice useful UI improvement (note 1).

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2. Mayday button
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image Description: Like the Kindle Fire, the Fire smartphone has one-button access to 24/7 video customer service with response time measured in seconds. Amazon calls it the "mayday" button. 

image Mobile banking use: Most mobile banking applications include telephone integration for a voice call to the call center. Instant video conferencing could be a good premium feature for high-value and/or fee-paying customers.

Verdict: While video customer support is not a killer feature, it has a nice ring to it when listed on your feature/benefit list. Certainly, banks should work on quicker response times for various types of products and/or customers.

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3. Unlimited cloud storage
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image Description: Amazon raised the bar for photograph storage, promising unlimited storage for all the pictures snapped from your Fire's camera.

Mobile banking use: Unlimited cloud storage for all transactions and statements.

Verdict: I know your compliance team gets queasy when discussing long-term data storage. But it's time to rise above all that and invoke one of the best customer-retention tools imaginable, unlimited secure storage of all banking records (see note 2).

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4. One year of Amazon Prime membership
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image Description: Fire smartphone buyers get one year of Amazon Prime membership free of charge. This savings of $100 covers half the cost of the 32GB phone ($199 with 2-year contract).

Mobile banking use: Premium channel

Verdict: Digital banking channels need an identifiable revenue stream to help pay for needed innovations and specialized services. A $4 to $5/mo "bank prime" membership program would go a long way in making digital a profit center (see previous post, note 2).

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Notes:
1. For more info, see our latest OBR Report on advanced mobile features (published June 2014, subscription). 
2. For info on fee-based financial services, see the Online Banking Report (subscription) on fee-based online services (May 2011); paperless banking and online storage (late 2010); and lifetime statement archives (2005).

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