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.
- Consumer Groups Urge CFPB to Impose Greater Protections for Prepaid Cards
Consumer advocates are calling on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to provide greater protections for prepaid debit card accounts. A letter released Friday signed by seven consumer advocacy groups asked the bureau to clarify that the definition of “account” under Regulation E includes the pooled accounts into which funds accessed by prepaid cards are placed. The groups, including Consumers Union, Center for Public Policy Priorities, Center for Responsible Lending, Coalition of Religious Communities, National Consumer Law Center, SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center and U.S. PIRG, said the clarification is essential to ensure prepaid card users have full consumer protections under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act.
- Google Folding Checkout Service to Fuel Mobile Wallet
Like a pop star who sells more records posthumously, the Google Checkout payment service may prove most beneficial to Google after it is phased out. Google’s mobile wallet is about to absorb the user base of Checkout, the search giant’s underwhelming answer to PayPal. Both the online and mobile payment services will be called Google Wallet. By folding Checkout — which is used by 9% of consumers, according to Javelin Strategy and Research — into Google Wallet, Google could catapult the latter well ahead of many competitors in mobile payments.
- Mobile Love: The Smart Phone Becomes the Apple of Members’ Eyes
People love their smart phones — almost literally — which is helping to make mobile banking a big hit at Apple Federal and Eastman credit unions. Eastman got marketing help from Intuit Financial Services (IFS), the financial management solutions company that provides Eastman and Apple Federal with text, mobile web and application banking. The “Tap, Snap, Deposit” campaign from IFS demonstrated “how easy mobile deposit is,” Lounds said. Credit unions need to make sure to provide members with an appropriate mobile banking solution, suggested John Flora, group product manager at IFS.
- Insights From Four Banks In Using Social Media
There is one universal truth when it comes to social media, and conveniently, it can be expressed in fewer than 140 characters: Everyone thinks everyone else has it figured out. Credit unions tend to believe other credit unions do a better job leveraging social media than they do, and all fear that banks have deeper resources and dedicated personnel and are leaving them in the techno-dust. Banks fear every other bank (just as a matter of principal and habit, more than anything else), and believe it’s credit unions that are the more effective social media strategists, given a closer relationship to their members.
- Mobile Banking: Just Another Channel Or Fundamental Strategic Shift?
In the past week Benjamin Ensor had the privilege of talking to (or listening to) executives responsible for mobile banking at some of Europe’s biggest banks, including Bankinter, Barclays Bank, La Caixa, Lloyds TSB, Nordea and RBS, at Forrester’s Marketing & Strategy Forum and at a conference on Next Generation Mobile Banking hosted by The Banker. I have also spoken privately to many other executives over the past few months, including at Forrester’s eBusiness Council meeting this week. Simplistically, their view of mobile banking falls into two camps: Mobile is just another channel. These executives see mobile banking as a way of letting customers do old things, like checking their account balance, in new ways. Mobile will revolutionize retail banking.
- Convergence of Carrier and Payment Company for the Un- and Underbanked
Last year, in Javelin’s underbanked report, we wrote that the carrier’s mobile transfer infrastructure will eventually converge with the existing mobile banking and payments infrastructure. Visa’s announcement today with MTN, building on their acquisition of Fundamo, is a sign of that convergence. Visa has introduced a prepaid account that will be offered through the MTN Group to its customers in Nigeria and Uganda. MTN services are currently available in 21 countries, centered in Africa and the Middle East.
- Visa to Offer Mobile Payments in Developing Nations
Visa has been hard at work on a mobile digital wallet that it hopes to roll out early next year. But that’s not the only mobile market the credit card company has its eye on. On Wednesday, the company announced plans for a product aimed at letting cellphone users in less developed nations buy goods and pay bills using their phones. “It won’t require a physical card attached to the account,” said John Partridge, president of Visa. “It’s a virtual prepaid account designed specifically for the mobile market in the developing world.”