Magazine article Independent Banker

Mobile READY

Magazine article Independent Banker

Mobile READY

Article excerpt

Special functioons and features to draw prized smartphonetethered customers

With mobile banking and mobile payments the financial services topics du jour, vendors are promoting several features and functionalities as "must-have" options, but there are really only a handful that set apart the capabilities of one community bank over another financial institution, according to consultants.

Some features are so essential that they have become "table stakes" for community banks today, says Ed O'Brien, director, banking channels for the Mercator Advisory Group in Maynard, Mass. Some customers look for push technology that enables them to receive alerts and certain other notices even if their mobile banking app isn't open, O'Brien says. He also advises community banks offering such mobile notices, to ensure those messages remain valued by their customer, to limit the communications through them only to alerts such as suspicious account activity and low balances.

Among other mobile banking features to consider, according to some technology experts, are:

* Online account opening for current customers, such as a credit card customer opening a deposit account. However, any online account opening capability has to take into account the risk associated with not opening the account in a face-to-face environment, says Cary Whaley, ICBA vice president of payments and technology policy.

* Peer-to-peer payments. This is a still-new but rapidly growing service for consumer payments from smartphones.

* ATM pre-staging, so that a customer can make a cardless withdrawal at the ATM.

* Remote check deposit. Whaley points out that most consumers receive relatively few checks, so they may use such a mobile feature-where people take a picture of a check to deposit from a smartphone-only rarely. Yet some may expect their community bank to offer it anyway. …

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