What We’re Reading
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.
- Not Just Fun and Games
Alice Albudget is a rising Hollywood starlet who loves to buy expensive handbags and designer dresses with her credit card. Every day hundreds of people attempt to become her money manager and teach her how to use credit cards properly and control her spending habits. These trial money managers-who must keep her happy or risk getting fired-are among a growing number of people getting a financial education through a handful of online video games. The D2D Fund, a financial literacy nonprofit in Roxbury, Mass., is leading the charge in developing such games. It has introduced five so far, including Celebrity Calamity featuring Albudget.
- Tech-Savvy Crowd Demands More Personal Service from Banks, Not Less
You can serve retail banking customers in branches, online and through mobile devices. But good luck getting them to ditch the first two for the mobile option. New research by Novantas LLC, Forrester Research and others adds weight to an idea being kicked around in the industry: that mobile may have its limits as a way to entice tech-savvy customers, reduce branch use and cut costs. Depending on how it is deployed, it can even result in more phone and branch contacts.
- Survey Finds In-Store Debit Card Use Just Barely Beats Cash
Consumers use debit cards more often than other payment options at the point of sale, but their use of cash is not far behind. This level of cash use indicates that consumers are limiting their spending to stay within their budgets, according to data from Javelin Strategy and Research. Javelin surveyed 4,444 consumers in September and asked how many times in a typical month they use different payment methods when shopping at stores, including debit cards, cash, credit cards, debits to their checking account through the automated clearing house network, prepaid cards, paper checks, store credit cards and retailer gift cards.
- The Future of Banking
As more people adopt smart phones, the importance and potential of mobile banking continues to grow. Many banks have created banking apps that allow customers to access their accounts, pay bills, spend money and more. One innovative app that’s out there is PNC’s Virtual Wallet. Users can clearly view a calendar of deposits and bill due dates to stay on top of their finances and even deposit money into their virtual piggy bank by shaking their phone.
- Finovate Spring 2011 Roundup
Last week Celent’s Jacob Jegher headed out to San Francisco for Finovate Spring. Finovate is his favorite conference of the year for a few reasons. Jacob was able to attend the demos and was not in meetings the entire time; the demos are a short 7 minutes – more than enough time for an analyst to make a quick judgement; and finally, it is a true showcase of bank innovation. It’s a mix of companies, some are 2 guys in a garage, others are small companies, and a few are established players.
- Conversations in the Branch and Transactions in the Cloud
In a nutshell, bankers are still striving to position the branch as a place where customers will seek advice concerning their financial position and select products and services that are customized to their unique situation. Many believe the complexities and nuances of one’s financial life make it difficult to conduct banking in a purely remote fashion. Sure, somebody can check a balance, transfer money or even fill out a loan application, but most believe that the “online only” customer will not become the norm in our lifetimes. In addition, bankers are seeking to steer their investment in branch staff away from transaction processing and more toward revenue-producing activities.
- Mobile Payments, Checks, and “The Lying Twins”
Industry leaders and strategists: we need to stop planning for mobile to be the second coming of electronic payments, because mobile payments is here now. Once we accept that truism as reality, the data and strategic next steps come into clearer focus. We’ve lived far too long with what Javelin’s James Van Dyke calls the lying twins: One day, paper will suddenly decline from the payments stream and, One day, mobile will suddenly replace plastic or paper payments. Folks, it just doesn’t happen that way.
- Zong: A Payments Company Name to Remember
Today, in order to reach the next level, buy virtual pets or beat your opponent a half a world away, a player/avatar/consumer will typically transact multiple times per month in order to buy a Facebook credits or other virtual currency (cash, coins, gems, etc.). These transactions can often occur in the heat of battle (literally) and the last thing any good soldier wants to do is stop progress in order to begin the seemingly weeklong process of taking out their credit card and typing a bunch of numbers just to spend a $2.99 to re-fill their weapons cache. Before you could say billabong, along came Zong to make it as quick and as easy as a song. How? They ask if you want the charge to tagalong on your mobile phone bill.