What We’re Reading: Mobile Payments, Financial Dashboards and Bank Scandals
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 or Tweet @bankingdotcom.
- Index of Banking Activity Rises on Better Credit and Optimism
Business activity in the banking sector improved significantly in September, rising for the fourth consecutive month, according to industry executives surveyed for American Banker’s latest Index of Banking Activity. The IBA’s September overall reading of 55.4 compared to 53.9 in August. The IBA is a product of American Banker’s regular surveys of bank executives and is published in partnership with VantageScore Solutions. The September index was based on 235 responses.
- Mobile Payment Awareness Grows, But Usage Remains Low Among Consumers: Study
Even though a significant number of consumers have heard of mobile person-to-person payments, current usage of this technology remains limited, a new report found. Four out of 10 households that have Internet access have heard of P-to-P payments, according to the survey, called “A New Perspective on Consumer Payment Habits” by Synergistics. Awareness is the highest, at 54%, for people between the ages of 18 to 34. Still, about 30% of those who are 50 or older are aware of the service, Synergistics said Thursday. However, only 9% of people have used mobile P-to-P payments, the study found.
- Another Square Copycat: Bank of America Launches Mobile Payments
Square may get a lot of credit for making mobile payments mainstream, but the ability to accept a credit card using a smartphone is turning into an unmistakable commodity.
The latest to enter the space is Bank of America’s Merchant Services, which is unveiling today Mobile Pay on Demand, a service that allows small business owners to accept customer payments over a cellphone. “I hate to come out with a commodity product, but every bank should have one,” said Trevor Rubel, the EVP of Bank of America’s Strategy and Emerging Products. Square is perhaps the most high-profile company in the market and is already processing $8 billion in payments annually. But its head-start hasn’t deterred others from entering into the space, including eBay’s PayPal, Groupon, Intuit, Pay Anywhere and many others.
- Financial dashboards can help consumers steer better
Unless you are one of the 30 per cent of Canadians polled recently who are counting on winning the lottery or inheriting money to provide for their retirement, you are likely going to have to take responsibility for building and protecting your wealth. Luckily, there’s an app for that. Or, more accurately, there are Web-based tools that do what you once had to pay a professional for. In most cases, they are also free. What there doesn’t seem to be, however, is one single, all-encompassing online source. “There are a lot of different solutions, a lot of smaller solutions and niche players,” said Daniel Shain, the founder of online guaranteed investment certificate (GIC) purchase platform Finizi.com.
- Bank scandals can aid financial literacy
Since the financial crisis began in 2008, Americans have witnessed a constant stream of scandals and settlement by the financial services industry. Banking, securities, consumer protection, commodity, asset management and brokerage regulators have all fined and penalized large institutions for putting profit and personal economic gain ahead of the law and doing the right thing for their clients. The LIBOR scandal by itself is shocking enough. Large global banks manipulated the London interbank offer rate on products worth an estimated $800 trillion, and The Wall Street Journal estimates that these banks could face legal liability of $176 billion, excluding regulatory penalties. A LIBOR lawsuit was recently filed by U.S. homeowners against 12 large banks. Ironically, the plaintiffs are suing under a law known as RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a law that was created to go after the Mafia.
- KPMG: Savvy youths value mobile banking security
Young professionals are embracing online and mobile banking technologies with open arms, but they are also worried about security and will be placing greater trust in banks that can give them peace of mind, according to KPMG. All of the major banks have been ramping up their mobile banking and payment efforts, in line with changing customer behaviour. Commonwealth Bank released an Android version of its Kaching app in July, Westpac teamed up with MasterCard for an NFC mobile payments trial a month later, and ANZ announced that it was making a major technology investment with a focus on mobile and online banking in October.