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The next big thing in banking could be an app on your smartphone

Special to the Legal News

Published: February 26, 2015

Anywhere people go these days, it seems as though they are bound to see someone walking around thumbing through apps and texts on their smartphone.

As people have become more interested in the hand-held devices, they have also started relying on them to manage all the details of their lives, including their finances.

In fact, Forrester Research has predicted that twice as many customers will be researching financial products on their smartphones and tablets this year as compared to 2014.

Despite that fact, the research firm found that many banks still aren’t creating enough marketing, merchandising and product research tools designed for those tablets and smartphones.

It also noted that banks aren’t doing enough mobile cross-selling to their current customers.

Others in the industry have predicted that more customers will apply for a financial product via a mobile device as more banks make that option available.

“These new forms of interaction will be especially important to the digital-first, Gen Y consumers, who value advocacy, not advertising and conversation, not clichés, and who are shaping financial brands and defining their success now and into the future,” said Adrenaline executive director Gina Bleedorn.

According to its website, Adrenaline is “an experience design agency that creates and implements brands and retail environments.”

Earlier this month, the company got involved in making banks more mobile-accessible when it launched BankMobile at the New York Stock Exchange.

“BankMobile is a fee-free, branchless bank that has made waves recently for its campaigns targeted exclusively at millennials, seeking greater mobility and flexibility in the banking process. The past decade’s explosion in smartphone use has created an enormous demand for on-the-go account management, full-fun transfers, and check deposits via photo,” Adrenaline said about the app’s release.

The company designed the app with millennials in mind and tried to make it progressive and youth-oriented while also providing services targeting people who manage their lives through their smartphones.

After debuting through a video played for a full day on the New York Stock Exchange video wall, the app is now available for both Andriod and Apple devices.

While there are certainly plenty of mobile-only banks, other companies are answering the demand for more banking products in other ways.

Fiserv Inc., a company aimed at providing financial services technology solutions, launched its product CardValet earlier this month.

The mobile card management app helps financial institutions to allow their customers to monitor and control when and how their credit and debit cards are used.

“Mobile cardholder account controls, a new best practice in card management, empowers consumers to help protect their payment card from fraudulent or unapproved use through a simple mobile phone app. These apps are also reducing payment card call center volume by enabling consumers to turn on or off card authorization rather than calling into their financial institution for assistance,” said Mercator Advisory Group’s director of debit advisory service Rob Mazursky.

The CardValet app allows its users turn a card off when it’s not in use, set spending limits so that transactions up to a certain dollar value are allowed or declined without calling a bank, monitor transactions and control specific merchant categories such as travel, restaurants and entertainment.

The app sends alerts when a card is used or when a card is declined for violating one of the parameters set by the card holder.

Fiserv’s senior vice president of marketing and product development in the credit and debit solutions section, Jayne Berthelsen, said the app’s success stemmed in part from the company’s decision to thoroughly test it with employees.

“Before we rolled this out to our clients, we piloted it with our own associates, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Our associates like the control the product gave them. Especially in light of the recent high-profile security breaches, our associates told us that they felt much more confident that if unauthorized transactions occurred on their card, they could detect the activity and turn their card ‘off’ immediately in order to prevent fraudulent transactions,” she said.

CardValet is available for download on both Apple and Android markets.

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