What We’re Reading: Tablets, Data, NFC and Mobile

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.

  • In the Branch, Tablets Mean Money

American Banker

Microsoft (MSFT), which also offers its XBox Kinect and big-screen Surface devices for bank branches, is now pushing tablets on bankers. “The future of the branch is not people just sitting behind a desk,” says Mike Opal, an industry market development manager in the U.S. Financial Services unit of Microsoft. “You need the tablet.” Software vendors are primed to build custom apps. ACI Worldwide (ACIW) is utilizing its recent S1 acquisition to build new mobile apps for bankers in brick and mortar stores.

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  • Big jump in mobile payments expected, but not with NFC in U.S.


Mobile payments will reach $171 billion globally in 2012, a 62% increase over last year’s total of $105.9 billion, according to research firm Gartner Inc. That increase corresponds with a 32% rise in mobile payment users expected this year. The number of users is expected to hit 212 million users, up from 160.5 million in 2011. The forecast, announced Tuesday, also pegs mobile transaction values at $617 billion, with 448 million users, by 2016, Gartner said in a statement.

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  • The Beauty of Small Data

Gonzo Banker

While the syntactic evolution of buzzwords is fine entertainment, he would like to argue that bankers today are suffering from poor implementations of the most basic management reporting and data mining. He would like to argue that we should prove we can handle small data before we hope to graduate to expensive new tools used by rocket scientists and drug researchers. For this reason, he offers up Cornerstone’s Eight-Point Small Data Assessment. Point #1: Sales Data – Banks need simple dashboard reports that summarize new business development.

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  • PayPal’s Feverish Sprint into Offline Payments

Javelin Strategy & Research Blog

PayPal is making major progress in growing its offline retail presence.  At the time of our last blog on  PayPal’s offline push, the company had just integrated its payment service into 51 Bay Area Home depot locations. In the two months afterward, the payments innovator transitioned its pilot program to include nearly 2,000 Home Depot locations. Only two months ago, the company announced PayPal Here, a global mobile payment service aimed to allow small businesses to accept a variety of payment methods.

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  • Personal Financial Management for Couples

Net Banker

Why are PFMs all about the data and do little to help you collaborate about your money? Because they were mostly designed by single, urban, 20-somethings (he knows that’s not entirely true, but you get the point). What we need is the “Facebook of PFMs” where you can share appropriate financial details with your spouse, family, parents and other financial stakeholders in your life (CPA, bank, advisor, etc). The same concept extends to businesses who have even more stakeholders to communicate with.

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  • Google launches ‘Beba,’ an NFC-enabled payment card in Kenya

The Next Web

Google, in a bid to boost its presence in the payments market, has launched Beba in Kenya, a pre-paid card enabled with Near Field Communication (NFC) to allow people to pay their bus fare without using cash. Yes, Google is doing this. Actually, according to Beba’s Terms of Service agreement, the company in question is Google Ireland Limited, interestingly enough. According to TechMtaa, the move was expected, and is rolling out first in Nairobi. The card, which can be loaded with up the local equivalent of $115, is likely attractive to customers, as it may help them dodge rising rates, or bus drivers that don’t provide exact or proper change; TechMtaa reports that “route charges are pre-loaded on to the [user's card],” which means that certain lower rates (off-peak) may not be counted, but at least the price will be consistent.

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  • Four Mobile Payment Systems Tested and Compared

PC World

Accepting credit cards used to be expensive and complicated: You needed to set up a merchant account with a bank, you had to buy or lease a card reader, and you had to pay a setup fee, subscription fees, and fees on every sale you made. Today, a swarm of credit card processing apps for smartphones and tablets has rendered the process easier, cheaper, and highly mobile. They examined four mobile payment processing services, along with their respective card readers and software. Each supplies an app for iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch), and three of the four offer an app for Android phones and tablets, but only one service supports BlackBerry devices.

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  • Target Rolls Out Shopkick Integration Nationwide


shopkick, the location-based shopping app backed by Greylock and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, is having its biggest rollout yet — Target says it’s making the service available in its stores nationwide. Target was already announced as a shopkick partner, but until now, it was limited to testing integration in seven cities. Now, thanks to what the company says were “rave reviews,” it’s expanding its shopkick integration to all of its 1,764 stores in the United States, making it the largest shopkick retailer. shopkick uses smartphones to give stores and brands a new way to interact with shoppers. By entering partner stores and scanning specific products, users earn “kicks” which can be redeemed for gift cards, deals, and other rewards.

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Video: New Expectations for Customer Experience

CeCe Morken, senior vice president and general manager of Intuit Financial Services recently presented the opening keynote at the Barlow Research National Client conference. This is part three of the video series.

One FI’s Effort to Ride Green

“Go Green” Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives have become more prominent as large corporations look to boost their images, and help various charities and organizations across the United States. Citibank is the latest financial institution to launch a new initiative that  will assist thousands of New Yorkers in going green.

Citibank is not alone in their initiative; they teamed up with MasterCard to create the “Citi Bike initiative,” a non-public funded program, which Citi will be spending $41 million over the next five years to sponsor. The program, scheduled to launch in July 2012, will distribute 10,000 Citibank-branded bikes at approximately 600 stations in New York City. In addition to their efforts to go green and provide a healthy commute, Citi Bike will be demonstrating a positive social impact by dividing any profits the program generates between the operator of the bike share service and the city of New York.

Sound complicated? The process of renting a Citi Bike is simple, and inexpensive. Riders can purchase one of three rental passes: 24-hour, 7-day or annual. To unlock their bikes from any of the estimated 600 docks, annual riders will be given a physical key, while 24-hour and 7-day riders will be given a temporary code. The return is just as simple, riders will be able to give back their borrowed bikes at any of the city-wide docking locations. For more information on the Citi Bike program, check out the full story at TheFinancialBrand.com.

Like Citi, many banks across the nation have caught wind of the benefits CSR initiatives can bring to companies and communities, and have taken action in their own creative ways. Another example is Bank of America, who supports hunger relief by partnering with Feeding America to support their nationwide food distribution and consumer outreach programs.

Does your city have a bike share program? What creative CSR initiatives does your FI take?  Let us know in the comments section below, or Tweet @bankingdotcom.

Video: Impact of Technology and Implications for Financial Institutions

CeCe Morken, senior vice president and general manager of Intuit Financial Services recently presented the opening keynote at the Barlow Research National Client conference. This is part two of the video series, and discusses implications of technology for financial institutions.

In this video, CeCe identifies and describes 5 key trends:
1. Nimble Entrepreneurs
2. Participatory Services Networks
3. Reputation Rules
4. Mass Data Control
5. Remote Genius

Watch the video below for the full details:

What We’re Reading: Mobile Security, Personalized Deals & PFM and Social Banking

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.

  • Wells Fargo Creates a Social Site for Perplexed Students

American Banker

While planning for college is largely about money, the choices that surround financing can be far more complex and often beyond bank staff’s expertise, something that Wells Fargo’s Kimarie Matthews readily admits. “There’s a certain set of questions that we are really good at answering, such as those about rates or products. But where financial institutions are not a strong is questions like ‘Should I go to a four-year university?’ or ‘Should I go to a private or a state university?

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  • 3 Keys to Mobile Security

Bank Info Security

Mobile banking is being adopted by consumers at an increasing rate, but it’s just one piece of the overall mobile financial services puzzle. As the mobility trend grows, banking institutions are still figuring out how far ahead they should look, and what strategies make the most sense. But Paul Smocer, president of BITS, the technology policy division of the Financial Services Roundtable, says most institutions are doing much more than some observers give them credit for doing. Banking/security leaders are very concerned about mobile, and they’re doing what they can to anticipate risks.

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  • Inside Apple’s secret plan to kill the cash register


An American saloon owner named James Ritty invented the cash register in 1879. Since then, all cash registers have shared the characteristics of bigness, heaviness and bulkiness — and have required the old walk-up-to-the-counter behavior in order to buy things.One notable exception is your local Apple Store. There are no cash registers. If you want to buy something, you flag down some kid wearing a brightly colored T-shirt and hand over your credit card.

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  • Debit Card Provides Income To Girl Scouts

Credit Union Journal

Suffolk FCU is supporting the local Girl Scouts there, and the $900-million CU is doing a lot more than buying their cookies.SFCU has introduced a debit card that carries the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County branding, and for every signature swipe five cents goes to the local council. John Barrie, AVP-marketing, said the decision was made not only to support the Scouts, but to increase debit transactions and gain more members.”Much of this is community involvement,” said Barrie.

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  • Hey Shopaholics, This Little Birdy Will Keep An Eye On What You Are Spending

Fast Company

The busy personal finance tracking space has yet more company. The Birdy, a cutesy, emoticon-happy service, aims to stop you from busting your budget. But The Birdy’s emailed chirps don’t mean you must always be cheap. If there’s a hole in your pocket, Corey Maass wants to help. His startup, TheBirdy.com, sends daily email reminders to subscribers to keep them aware of what they are spending and where.

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  • Forrester: How do the top U.S. banks rank in their mobile services?

Fierce Mobile Content

Mobile is the new black: In 2011, the number of smartphone subscriptions in the U.S. grew by about 50 percent. Today, U.S. smartphone penetration is approximately 40 percent. This technological sea change is having an impact on the banking industry: In the past five years, U.S. mobile banking adoption has more than quadrupled, hitting 17 percent by the end of 2011. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 33 percent.

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  • MoneyDesktop: How Personalized Deals Shine in PFM Tools

My Bank Tracker

Personal financial management (PFM) tools and merchant-funded rewards programs are the latest crazes in the financial-tech world, which makes it appropriate to combine the two  concepts. In an innovation gallery in March, Intuit — the parent of FinanceWorks and Mint.com — displayed a white-label mobile banking app with personalized deals. Now, another PFM provider — MoneyDesktop — has adopted the idea of merging PFM and merchant-funded rewards. Earlier this month, MoneyDesktop unveiled its new personalized deals platform at Finovate, a conference showcasing the latest innovations in financial and banking technology.

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  • The bank of Facebook – is social banking on the way?

The Wall

Whispers abound that Facebook is moving towards becoming the first social network to offer its customers banking services, and research and advisory company Gartner suggests that a social network, most likely Facebook, will rollout this service within the next two years. Now that social media has embraced the power (and commercial benefits) of advertising, it is expanding into broader, and more overtly financial, services.  You can already buy credit on Facebook and use it to watch films and play games, so adding to the customer experience.  This has proved highly lucrative to the provider; credits cost 10 cents each but it was estimated by eMarketer that Facebook made $470m in revenue from this feature alone last year.

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  • Millennials use alternative financial services ; Check-cashing, payday loan services get business

USA Today

Payday loans, check cashing and prepaid debit cards have found a new customer in the cash-strapped twentysomething. Under-banked Millennials are using alternative financial services such as these at similar rates regardless of income level, according to a survey out today by Think Finance, which develops financial products for the under-banked. Half of those in the lowest income group surveyed, earning less than $25,000 a year, said they used a prepaid debit card in the past year. That was the same percentage as the highest income bracket — $50,000 to $74,999 a year — says the survey of 640 under-banked Millennials.

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Infographic: Who are the Underbanked?

There are close to 2.5 billion people in the world who do not have an account at a financial institution; a population that is referred to as the underbanked. To help address this population and understand the financial gap, The World Bank has created the Global Findex, which is described as a financial inclusion database used to measure the use of financial services and identify those with the greatest barriers to access.

The World Bank created an infographic outlining details on who, and why people are underbanked. According to the Global Findex, “3/4 of the world’s poor do not have a bank account, not only because of poverty, but also due to costs, travel distance and paper work involved.” The index also found “gaps in financial inclusion across demographics, with women, the poor, youth, and rural residents at the greatest disadvantage.” See below for the full infographic and breakdown of stats on the underbanked.

Does your FI have measures in place to reach the underbanked population? Do you see this as a concern for financial institutions in the future? Let us know in the comments section to Tweet @Bankingdotcom.

by worldbank. Browse more infographics.

Video: Getting to Know Small Businesses

CeCe Morken, senior vice president and general manager of Intuit Financial Services recently presented the opening keynote at the Barlow Research National Client conference. We will be posting a series of videos from CeCe’s keynote, beginning with the one below on getting to know small businesses.

What We’re Reading: NACHA Round-up, Social Media and Mobile Wallets

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.

  • Big Check Volumes Aren’t Just for Big Banks, a Small Bank Says

American Banker

Business clients that receive thousands of checks per month typically can’t get automated bulk check processing services from a small bank. And if the services matter to those clients, the small banks lose their business to larger rivals. But Farmers & Merchants Bank, a $4.7 billion-asset bank based in Long Beach, Calif., is launching an image cash letter service. In doing so, the bank is demonstrating an emerging option for smaller banks to deepen relationships with business clients, speed processing and take greater control over the quality of check images that are prepared for deposit.

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  • Nacha Payments 2012 Round-up

Celent Banking Blog

Last week he was in Baltimore for the Nacha Payments annual event, a regular fixture on his calendar. He just wanted to share some impressions, some of his own, others themes from the many conversations he had. Mobile loomed large on the agenda. It’s not an area that he specifically focuses on but he was struck by the diverging opinions. On one hand, some banks were saying that those customers who used the mobile service were the most profitable. However, others also said they didn’t know how or when they’d make money from mobile.

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  • Why Smaller Banks Should offer Image Cash Letter Deposit Services

Celent Banking Blog

Farmers & Merchants Bank, a $2 billion-asset bank based in Long Beach, Calif., is launching an image cash letter service. The accompanying press release caught the eye of American Banker resulting in a story today on the topic, Big Check Volumes Aren’t Just for Big Banks, a Small Bank Says, written by John Adams. In a previous post, he commented on why wholesale lockbox belongs in the headlines even though it has been around as a staple treasury management offering for five decades. The post emphasized that after all these years, the market opportunity for wholesale lockbox services remains significant.

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  • Social Media Needs ‘Socialnomics’

Credit Union Journal

Credit unions would be well-advised to take a course in “Socialnomics,” according to one person. Socialnomics is the intersection of social media and word of mouth, creating “world of mouth” advertising, according to Erik Qualman, an expert on social media and author of a book with that name. “Socialnomics is word of mouth on digital steroids,” he said, noting many consumers are moving past what had been considered a big deal just a few years ago-doing research online at home before going out to shop. “People are now using their smart phones to scan QR codes in stores, which not only lets them comparison shop, it lets them get recommendations on the product from their Facebook friends.”

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  • Mobile Wallets Have Uphill Climb to Consumer Acceptance


Will mobile wallets take off in the US? If marketers, carriers and other service providers expect technology that allows mobile phones to act as credit or debit cards to gain wide acceptance, they have a lot of work to do to convince consumers to adopt. According to March 2012 panel-based research by marketing solutions agency Catapult, just one-quarter of US consumers were at least somewhat interested in using a mobile wallet for in-store purchases. In contrast, 58% were uninterested—including 41% who reported a complete lack of interest. Correspondingly, in January 2012, market research firm TNS found that 60% of US mobile phone users were not interested in mobile wallet technology.

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  • Infographic: The Digital Lives of American Moms

Nielson Wire

Moms are at the center of their family’s offline life, so it’s little surprise that they’re also at the center of many of the biggest trends online as well. Whether to look up the latest product reviews or to connect with friends, families, and even brands through social networks, American moms are particularly active and influential online. American moms use social media frequently, with nearly three out of four moms visiting Facebook during March 2012. When using social media, moms are 38 percent more likely to become a fan of or follow a brand online, and moms who blog are more than twice as likely to follow brands and celebrities compared to the online average.Moms visit blogs more often, and are 27 percent more likely to visit Blogger and 26 percent more likely to visit WordPress.com than the general online population.

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  • Mobile Payments Expected To Surge (INFOGRAPHIC)

Huffington Post

Mobile payments are expected to hit 21.3 percent in 2012. Mobile payment technology is making it unnecessary to carry a wallet or maintain a bulky cash register at your checkout counter. By using devices and apps like Square and Google Wallet, small businesses are getting paid faster and customers are making more reliable purchases. Data from Deloitte show that mobile payment usage is expected to spring from 6.8 percent in 2009 to a predicted 21.3 percent in 2012.

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  • New free website e-mails you when you’re going over budget

Sun Sentinel

Plantation-based PowerWallet.com helps people manage their finances, sending reminders to pay bills — from credit cards to monthly cable charges — and alerting consumers when they’re near their budget limits. “It keeps your spending in control,” said PowerWallet co-creator and president, Bob Sullivan. “We looked at the market about a year ago and found people were having trouble with their finances.” So Sullivan helped set up the secure website that allows people to safely list their finances online, including their investments, bank accounts and bills.

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Bank Robbing 2.0

Financial institutions have plenty to worry about these days: robbers, hackers, fraudsters, scammers, viruses, malware, trojans —and the list goes on. One little talked about threat to FIs and their customers is ATM fraud in the form of skimming.

Skimming is the act of hijacking account information through the use of a card reader, usually installed on an ATM and fabricated to look like a part of the machine. Thieves have even utilized the readers used to unlock after-hours ATM kiosks. Often, a camera accompanies the card reader attached directly on ATMs and records customers entering their PIN.

Fraudsters can then withdraw money directly from the compromised account or sell the information to other criminals. Guns, drugs and other illicit materials can then be purchased with the stolen funds and card information, or criminals can perpetrate identity theft.

A recent post on the Krebs on Security blog, a banking and finance security blog, shows the latest in skimmer technology recovered from a compromised ATM. The unit is an all-in-one card reader with a built-in pinhole camera, seamlessly attached to an ATM — pretty sophisticated stuff.

One expert estimates more than $350,000 stolen from ATMs worldwide every day via skimming. With ATMs seemingly everywhere one could go – grocery stores, movie theaters, malls, gas stations – there is no shortage for opportunity. This reveals another part of the problem: unless you are a bank security expert, chances are remote that anyone from your FI has mentioned skimming or how to minimize the risk.

Here are some simple steps both FIs and their customers can use to lower the chance they will be victimized:

  1. Before inserting your card, always scrutinize the ATM for parts that look out of place, been added on or just plain don’t belong. Check for mismatched and uneven seams or other irregularities.
  2. Use your hand as a shield while you enter your PIN. This is perhaps the easiest preventative measure one can take. It will also prevent shoulder snoopers from spying on you.
  3. Educate yourself about skimming (and other forms of fraud). FIs can do a better job teaching their customers about skimming to help customers and members minimize the risk of being victimized. Hang a poster next to the ATMs or print warnings right on the machines, so it is fresh on the ATM user’s mind.
  4. Remind customers to check their account activity often, and report any unfamiliar transactions to the FI.

As FIs continue to utilize ATMs for both convenience and cost-savings, the frequency of skimming attacks will only increase in both volume and sophistication. Should these attacks be thwarted, FIs, customers and law enforcement must stay vigilant and ahead of the criminals and their ever-advancing technology.

Does your FI already have preventative measures in place against skimmers? Let us know in the comments section below or Tweet @bankingdotcom.

Editor’s Note: David Sutton has a BA in economics and a MS in business journalism, and his articles have appeared on Forbes.com and in the Boston Business Journal. David has had a bank account since he was three.

Key Banking Topics in Social Media

*Guest post by Karen Licker, Social Banker & Content Contributor (Independent) at J.D. Power and Associates

The challenges confronting banks that seek to bolster their bottom-line profitability, retain customers, and stay competitive in the marketplace are formidable. Research conducted by J.D. Power‘s Consumer Insight and Strategies Group to track social media activity regarding banking issues between April 2011 and March 2012 finds that:

  • Online sentiment was distinctly negative not only regarding fees, but also for bank technology
  • Complaints associated with website or online issues were a major source of discontent in technology-related messages














With customer feedback on critical topics discussed online going from technology to fees and service, banks should see the handwriting on the wall and provide an appropriate outlet for these customers, along with an acknowledgement and guidance for direction for immediate response.

Retail Banks aren’t the only ones that have an opportunity to engage with the vocal online customer. Credit card holders appear to be even more outspoken online, but card issuers appear to have learned this a bit faster than their Retail Banking peers.

  • 43% more credit card customers indicated that their financial institution responded to their online post than for Retail Bank customers (J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Credit Card Satisfaction Study). This may not be surprising, however, given the more virtual nature of interaction associated with credit card servicing.
  • Mobile apps for payments, online sites for daily transactions and much heavier reliance on phone-based rather than in-person interaction all combine to make the credit card environment more conducive to engaging the customer online.

Financial services, however, need to step up to the plate more and address the disgruntled customer. While these percentages are a step in the right direction, there is much more to be done to placate this online audience and turn the negative intensity and passion around.