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
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?
- 3 Keys to Mobile 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.
- 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.
- Debit Card Provides Income To Girl Scouts
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.
- Hey Shopaholics, This Little Birdy Will Keep An Eye On What You Are Spending
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.
- Forrester: How do the top U.S. banks rank in their mobile services?
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.
- MoneyDesktop: How Personalized Deals Shine in PFM Tools
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.
- The bank of Facebook – is social banking on the way?
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.
- Millennials use alternative financial services ; Check-cashing, payday loan services get business
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.