Banking

7 posts categorized

August 21, 2014

Mortgages Go Mobile

Depositphotos_6547862_xs

The mortgage lending market is updating the way it does business. Primarily a person-to-person industry, mortgage lenders typically meet with customers directly to offer a variety of packages suitable for their clients. With the influx of mobile users in the past decade, however, the big players in this business are readying to go mobile.

According to the Pew Research Center, about 90% of U.S. adults carry a cellphone. In addition, the report shows that 58% of Americans carry a smartphone, 42% own a tablet, and 32% have an e-reader. These numbers show that, in this nation alone, owning a mobile device has become a standard. Mortgage lending corporations have begun to roll out marketing campaigns based on these numbers, creating mobile apps and kiosks to change the way they have historically addressed their clientele.

In Wisconsin, a company called Waterstone Mortgage has been one of these pioneers. They have developed a digital platform entitled Mortgage Agility, which allows potential borrowers to apply for loans using their smartphones. The app features the ability to take pictures of the potential clients’ documents, thereby speeding up the approval process. Waterstone’s offices in Florida have started to employ Mortgage Agility, and they are already seeing great results: not only are customers’ information collected in an orderly fashion, but they are able to move into a closing position with greater speed and ease.

Another digital platform, called Apex, has been unveiled by FBC Mortgage LLC. This technology comes to customers as a kiosk located at FBC Mortgage storefronts. Apex allows potential borrowers to streamline the approval process, allowing clients to determine if they are eligible for a loan in less than ten minutes. The technology then sends a correspondence letter to the individual immediately after the pre-approval process.

It is true that the mortgage lending industry has a history of doing business the old-fashioned way. When it comes to loans, it is important that all of a customer’s information is protected and handled with care. But the face-to-face practice of lending requires a great deal of a given client’s time (as well as the lender’s time). Nowadays, Americans use mobile technologies for anything from online purchases and video games, to text messaging and information gathering – and the mortgage lending industry must not lose sight of this. By developing strategies for the lending market that incorporate a mobile user’s smartphone (or an appropriate digital platform), their customers will appreciate the ease-of-use and expediency of mobile technologies.

 

 

May 30, 2014

FT Reaches Out to Young People via Mobile Marketing

Depositphotos_9940984_xs
 

Britain’s premier business and economics broadsheet, the Financial Times (FT), last month launched a digital ad campaign aimed at the next generation of business professionals.

Digital posters are dotted around London train, tube and bus stations, imploring the public to find their ‘personalized Financial Times at FT.com.’ The mobile marketing assault includes video ads optimized for smartphones, while the usual social media suspects spread the word online.

Toni Ellwood, the FT’s boss of acquisition marketing, gave a statement at the unveiling of the campaign:

“Since the launch of our digital media acquisition campaign last year, we have seen that 40 per cent of new readers… were in the 24-34 age group – one we hadn’t specifically targeted previously.”

It’s an interesting development for the paper, which hasn’t always been so keen on the sort of mobile marketing tactics now used by most big businesses. Less than two months before the launch of the digital ad campaign, the FT’s chief technical officer John O’Donovan warned against obsessing over specific platforms, singling out mobile-optimized and responsive sites as examples of myopic tendencies among marketers.

And yet, the site was an early, aggressive adopter of certain online and mobile marketing practices that are now de rigeur among all sorts of enterprise. In 2007, FT.com became the first publisher to use a metered paywall and launch an HTML-5-based browsing experience. According to Donovan, the FT generates more revenue from content descriptions than it does from advertising - a pretty unequivocal endorsement as far as proponents of paid content are concerned.

Back then, Donovan described the FT as ‘pushing boundaries’ in the way it disseminated content through a diverse range of channels. His success cannot be ignored – but neither can the overwhelming power of mobile marketing which, frankly, is more effective than other strategies. After all, smartphone usage keeps growing year on year, and more than 90% of all text messages are opened and read within minutes of being received.

At the very least, Donovan would surely concede the point made by his colleague Ellwood, that nearly ‘half of FT.com traffic now comes from mobile devices.’ Their growing mobile audience appears to confirm the very thing Donovan denies: that a mobile marketing campaign should take precedence over other channels without excluding them altogether. 

May 14, 2014

Twitter Adds SMS Messaging Password Resets

Depositphotos_3469473_xs

Twitter has updated its security options to allow users to reset passwords via text or email. The updates were unveiled last week.

In order to implement the SMS messaging option, users must associate a mobile phone number with their Twitter account here. Once the phone is activated, it’s possible to disable any unwanted SMS notifications. To reset a password via email, simply click the ‘forgot password’ link on the front page (the option is available on both desktop and mobile versions of the site, as well as the Android and iPhone apps).

Once the SMS messaging request has been sent, a code is sent to the associated mobile phone; the code must be entered on Twitter’s sign in page, followed by the new password.

The move comes after Twitter promised to ramp up security for their service following a spate of suspicious log in attempts. In addition to the new password reset options, Twitter has started analyzing log in attempts based on location and history, in much the same way banks flag up unusual ATM transactions. If they identify an apparently suspicious log in attempt, Twitter will request verification via email or text.

Additionally, the process will ask users a secret question about their account prior to granting access, followed by e-mail notifications if an anomaly has been spotted.
Twitter said recently that user security is a  priority concern, and by adding these new steps accounts will be safer than ever before.

The single biggest breach of Twitter’s security manifested as the recent Heartbleed Bug scandal, which compromised the personal data – including bank details - of millions of users. The micro-blogging site hopes the new measures will prevent similar security breaches in future. A statement on their blog said:

“We’re aware that many people reuse the same passwords across multiple sites. And when any of these sites are compromised, stolen passwords could be used to access your account on Twitter.” 

When it comes to tightening preventative procedures to limit third party hijackings, Twitter is somewhat late to the party. Google implemented a raft of similar security measures in 2010, giving users the ability to track log in history and other information so they could keep tabs on their accounts. 

March 17, 2014

Secure Text Banking? It’s All About Checks and Balances

Depositphotos_9659887_xs

SMS messaging provides one of the fastest, easiest ways for consumers to stay in touch with businesses. Banking is no exception. Virtually every major US bank now offers some form of text banking.

Text banking is proving popular with a small number of customers who like to stay on top of the finances – and like the fact they don’t need an internet connection to do it. Nonetheless, as many as 51% of cell phone users think mobile banking is not secure, and the number of bank customers who prefer using cell phones to view balances and transactions stood at around 8% in 2012, when the most recent ABA figures were published. 

This reticence to engage with text banking is understandable. Fears about sending account details via text messages are not unfounded. And even just using text as one part of mobile marketing tactics that make no specific reference to an account will make some customers jittery. When it comes to personal finances, some people will always prefer the real-world transactions they’re used to.

For people more concerned about convenience than worst-case scenario cyber-fraud, SMS messaging is one of the best things to happen to banking. Apart from the improved customer service texting can offer, it’s also – whatever detractors tell you – potentially far more secure than other typed of banking. 

In response to security concerns, most banks have recently designed a whole host of precautions enabling them to minimize fraud and identity theft. Customers are now assigned a PIN they must enter to begin any particular SMS messaging session, as well as nicknames for account numbers.

Leading the way in providing greater security for text banking is Wells Fargo, who were the first bank to make the service available to all customers, even those not enrolled in online banking. Their research indicated customers want to check their balances while on the move, so they implemented a number of codes that customers could text to perform certain transactions. ‘BAL ALL’ lets customers check their balance.  ‘ACT’ tells them if a check is deposited. ‘ATM’ points them to the nearest cash machine.

The bank does not send account numbers or passwords, and their Online Security Guarantee promises 100% insurance if unauthorized activity is reported within 60 days.

Other banks have gone further. Both USAA and BOFA allow customers to deposit checks using an iPhone. Not everyone will be comfortable performing such high level transactions remotely. But for those who want that choice, SMS messaging and mobile banking is making life a whole lot easier.

July 21, 2009

Visa Europe Testing SMS Transaction Alerts

If you're a Visa cardholder in Europe you'll soon be able to have an alert sent to your phone whenever you make a purchase. While this could become very annoying, it could also be a great way to find out, immediately, if you're card was stolen:

“With Visa’s mobile alert service, we want to offer cardholders the reassurance of knowing, in real-time, exactly where and when their card is being used. If something looks suspicious, this will give them the power to put a stop to any fraud taking place on their cards.”


Read more @ IntoMobile.

July 13, 2009

Place Buy & Sell Orders On The Nairobi Stock Exchange Via SMS

"Place Buy & Sell Orders On The Nairobi Stock Exchange Via SMS" Sounds like an email scam, doesn't it? Well, it's not. Kenya's stock exchange has just taken a big leap forward:

The Nairobi Stock Exchange continued its technology advance with the introduction of buy and sell orders via mobile phones. Last week, Standard Investment Bank introduced a Short Message Service (SMS) for its clients to place orders.
...
James Wangunyu, Executive Chairman of the bank, said the EasyHisa mobile product offers convenient services and comes in response to the call from the Capital Markets Authority to embrace technology.

The Central Depository and Settlement Corporation, which offers custody services, also has an SMS update for investors interested in tracking their shares and following their performance. Several market stakeholders offer online services for placing and executing sale and buy orders from clients, but many retail investors apparently do not have easy Internet access.

Standard Investment Bank assures clients that the SMS service is secure and they provide confirmation within the hour. Trading at the NSE has grown over time and moved from open outcry to a successful automated trading system in 2006, according to a report on afrigrow.com.

Read it @ Africa News

April 18, 2008

Mobile Banking To Jump To 37 Billion In 2011

OnlineMediaDaily reports on an interesting prediction:

Mobile banking transactions worldwide will jump to 37 billion in 2011 from 2.7 billion in 2007, according to a new report by Juniper Research.

A growing variety of mobile financial services including funds transfers, bill payment and account management will help to drive the increase in transactions. Improved security safeguards will also be crucial to the rise of m-banking's expansion.

Read more @ OnlineMediaDaily.