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.
- What Can Bankers Learn From Gamers?
The qualities that make games so compelling — the immersiveness, the need to collaborate with others, the fun and even the killing — could all be harnessed by banks in their mobile applications to help their customers understand their finances and reach specific goals such as savings and debt reduction. This is a point made by Jane McGonigal, director of games research and development at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, in the keynote speech at the Mobile Banking and Commerce Summit in San Francisco Sunday. McGonigal is a designer of alternate reality games that are designed to improve people’s lives and solve problems. She has created games for partners such as the American Heart Association, the International Olympics Committee, the World Bank Institute, and the New York Public Library.
- U.S. tablet usage hits ‘critical mass,’ ComScore reports
Nearly one in four smartphone owners also make use of tablet computers, according to data from the market researcher. In just the two years since the release of Apple’s iPad, the U.S. tablet market has reached a “critical mass,” with nearly one in four smartphone owners also using a tablet in the three-month period ending in April, according to data released by market researcher ComScore. Tablet use among smartphone owners has more than doubled in the past year, going from 9.7 percent last year to 23.6 percent this year, ComScore found. By comparison, only 10.4 percent of feature phone owners also use a tablet, “suggesting that smartphone ownership is highly predictive of tablet adoption in the current market,” comScore said.
- How Companies Can Beef Up Password Security
Separate password breaches last week at LinkedIn, eHarmony and Last.fm exposed millions of credentials, and once again raised the question of whether any company can get password security right. To understand more about why companies keep making the same mistakes and what they might do differently to prevent future password debacles, he interviewed Thomas H. Ptacek, a security researcher with Matasano Security. Ptacek is just one of several extremely smart researchers I’ve been speaking with about this topic. Below are some snippets from a conversation we had last week. BK: I was just reading an article by Eric Chabrow, which pointed out that LinkedIn — a multi-billion dollar company that holds personal information on some of world’s most important executives — has neither a chief information officer nor a chief information security officer.
- Card-Linked Offers in the Wild: Bank of America, Capital One and Fifth Third
They are starting to see more card-linked offers (aka merchant-funded rewards) in the wild: Bank of America: Consultant and former bank exec Tom Noyes showed off his BofA offers, BankAmeriDeals powered by Cardlytics, on his FinVentures blog earlier this week. Capital One: For the past four weeks, he has been receiving FreeMonee offers from Capital One. Fifth Third Bank: He doesn’t know how long it’s been there (the service was announced in late Feb), but today he noticed that Fifth Third has a link up on its homepage to Prewards, the edo Interactive-powered rewards programs. Bottom line: Card-linked rewards are great for consumers and banks, and hopefully they will prove to be equally valuable for the merchants who pay for the whole thing. If so, it could usher in a whole new era of ad-supported banking.
- More Debit Card Follies and Abuses
The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau needs to bring transparency to debit card banking. The Federal Reserve made a good regulatory start in 2010, when it required banks to get account holders’ consent before enrolling them in overdraft ”protection” programs that could cost them $35 each time they used a debit card and overdrew their account — the cards provide no warning of insufficient funds. Customers who did not opt in would have their purchases declined. The regulations were sound, but consumers immediately complained that some banks failed to explain the opt-in policy or even pressured customers into taking it by saying that their debit cards might no longer work.
- Banks Say Walmart, PayPal Biggest Threats to Business
Nearly as many senior banking executives are concerned about competition from new financial market entrants, like Walmart and PayPal, as there are bankers worried about competition from the industry’s biggest players. According to the KPMG Banking Outlook Survey, 28 percent of 100 senior banking respondents said those new market entrants posed the biggest threat to their business. In comparison, 32 cited national banks as the biggest threat. Regulatory pressure, an interest in online and mobile, and an eye for the underbanked consumer were other popular themes that garnered attention in this year’s edition of the annual banking survey.