Magazine article American Banker

Meeting Demand for Mobile 'It' Feature at a Community Bank

Magazine article American Banker

Meeting Demand for Mobile 'It' Feature at a Community Bank

Article excerpt

Byline: Penny Crosman

This story is part of our Community Bank Tech Projects series. Each day this week we will highlight a technology initiative a community bank pursued in the past year. The aim of the series is to explore where community banks are choosing to invest their limited resources in technology.

Community banks with a large retail focus know that they have to offer many of the digital bells and whistles big banks have in order to stay competitive.

One such feature is an on/off switch -- an option on a bank's mobile app that lets users suspend their debit cards when, say, the card is misplaced or when the user wants to have more control over their spending. Several community banks have offered such a switch for a few years now, and Bank of America and Citi rolled out such products last year.

As did Provident Bank in Jersey City, N.J.

In December, the $9.5 billion-asset bank deployed the technology as U-Shield, an iPhone and Android app that lets customers control their cards.

Provident, the oldest bank in the Garden State, said it chose to offer the service to allay customer concerns about security.

"The No. 1 objection that customers have to getting a debit card: they're afraid," said Betsy Gomez, first vice president and director of retail administration at the bank. "What if it's breached? What if somebody gets my number? What if I leave my card at a restaurant and somebody takes it and they have access to all this money and I'll be out all this money? It's not like a credit card. This is my checking account and everybody values that."

U-Shield lets customers turn off their debit cards when they're not going to use them or when they lose their card.

But it's not only an on/off switch.

A "Control By Location" feature lets customers make sure their cards work only where they are and are blocked in locations where they are not. …

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