Banking

16 posts categorized

April 08, 2016

Samsung Has Launched Its Mobile Wallet in China

 

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Samsung’s mobile wallet is making its way to China, no tunneling required. The international tech firm recently announced Chinese shoppers can now use their smartphones to pay for in-store purchases, and are therefore joining the Asian country’s trillion-dollar mobile wallet market. 

 

Partnership With UnionPay

SamsungPay was launched in partnership With UnionPay, the same bankcard company that helped bring ApplePay to life. UnionPay credit and debit cards are currently the only cards linked with local Samsung phones at this time, with up to 10 cards allowed per device. SamsungPay is available in China on the Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, and the Galaxy Note 5 smartphones. 

 

Positive Reception

Injong Rhee, EVP and Head of R&D, Software, and Services of Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics, said the company is pleased to partner with CUP in order to bring SamsungPay to Chinese consumers. Rhee said SamsungPay reception has so far been very positive, and the service has found success in both consumer adoption and availability. 

The EVP also stated that Samsung hopes to make the payment option available to as many Chinese consumers as possible so that “everyone can have the opportunity to enjoy the simplicity, safety and convenience of this mobile payment solution."

 

Participating Institutions

Banking institutions currently participating in SamsungPay include the largest bank in the country, ICBC, as well as China Construction Bank and China Merchants Bank. Other major institutions such as Bank of Communications and Bank of China are said to follow suit. 

 

Additional Phones

In addition to the Samsung phones listed above, the Korean tech giant noted the possibility of adding more devices, including the Galaxy A5, A7, and A9, as they were also tested in public beta. Rooted devices do not support SamsungPay. 

 

The Challenge

China’s mobile wallet industry is quite well established, making Samsung’s foray into the market a challenging one. Local services such as WeChat and AliPay are used for online shopping and transportation services among other things, and are now available for brick-and-mortar store use. Analysts recently remarked that AliPay and WeChat are so ingrained among Chinese consumers that introducing new mobile wallet options will be an “uphill battle.” However, Samsung has previously noted one essential factor working for them: the technology is applicable to a larger number of existing payment terminals. 

 

“Simple and Safe”

Samsung also believes its mobile wallet option will work because it’s “simple, safe, and easy to use,” and that it works “virtually anywhere” in China that allows consumers to swipe or tap their cards. There’s no need to unlock phones or use special apps to access Samsung’s mobile wallet, which makes it arguably more appealing than earlier incarnations requiring these steps, such as Google Wallet. 

The mobile wallet is similar to ApplePay in that it utilizes near field communication technology (NFC). Samsung’s version will also support the magnetic secure transmission technology used on standard credit card machines. 

As of the fourth quarter of last year, Samsung was No. 6 in China’s smartphone market with a 7 percent share compared to Apple’s 15 percent. It will be interesting to see how the new mobile wallet option fares. SamsungPay is currently available in the U.S. and South Korea, and should enter the UK market later this year. 

April 03, 2016

Pinnacle Bank SMS Scam Hits Nebraska

 

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The people of Columbus, Nebraska, and nearby areas have been targeted by a text message scam. The local police department used social media to issue a warning, asking people to be especially weary of text messages requesting users to reply with personal banking information. 

 

What Is Text Fraud?

Text fraud, or phishing, has become increasingly popular among online criminals. This particular scammer targeted random phone numbers in and around Columbus and posed as local Pinnacle Bank. The text asked users to tap a link that would prompt them to verify their account information (even if they weren’t a bank customer), which gave the criminals access to users’ personal information. 

This isn’t the first time bad SMS news has hit the mainstream. Text fraud in particular is increasingly invasive on our mobile phones, and a serious problem for financial institutions around the world. Just last month, several banks in Australia were pawns in an SMS scam; 9 banks in total were part of an elaborate and sophisticated ploy that asked bank customers to check or verify private account information. 

The text messages alone don’t do any damage, but they’re designed to look and sound like the real deal. The Federal Trade Commission advises anyone who receives these types of text messages to delete them immediately. According to the FTC website, “Legitimate businesses don’t ask you to send sensitive information through insecure channels.”

Needless to say, text messaging is not a secure form of communication, even though 80 percent of text-savvy consumers use text for business. Working with banks or other private institutions via text isn’t the problem, and people shouldn’t be afraid to engage in SMS activity if they prefer that form of communication. However, everyone should be aware that the service businesses are able to provide via text are very limited, and they should never ask for private account information via text.

Online criminals commonly request things like usernames, passwords, and social security numbers; even something as simple as your address, phone number, or date of birth could compromises your identity. They’ll often use aggressive tactics to urge you to action, threatening to close accounts or discontinue service if the user does not respond. 

 

Protecting Yourself

The best thing to do if you ever suspect text fraud or a phishing scam is ignore the communication and notify the business the text claims to be coming from. The FTC also recommends that you protect yourself with security software, and keep your phone as updated as possible. Keep an eye on your credit reports and financial information. If you see anything that looks suspicious, catching it early can save you a lot of time and grief. And finally, report text fraud to the proper authorities, like The Anti-Phishing Working Group, which includes ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions, and law enforcement agencies. 

February 15, 2016

Most People Prefer Mobile Money Transfers Over Their Banks, Says Survey

 

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Is mobile technology the key to alleviating money transfer frustration? It certainly seems so. A new Amdocs survey noted that 83 percent of the 3,000 respondents were displeased with current international money transfer services available through banks and money transfer operators (MTOs), while almost half of respondents said the speed at which their money is transferred is the biggest issue. These respondents also said they’d be very willing to use their mobile devices to send money internationally. 

 

Seven Remittance Corridors

The study centered around seven main remittance corridors and their users: US-Mexico, US-Rest of CALA, US-Philippines, UK-Nigeria, US-Vietnam, US-India, and Germany-Turkey. These corridors make up $78.6 billion in annual remittances.

 

Mobile’s Opportunity

According to Sharath Dorbala, the vice president and head of products, sales, and marketing for mobile financial services at Amdocs, mobile technology has a fantastic opportunity to overtake other money transfer possibilities and become the dominant option. Dorbala further remarked to eWeek that mobile devices provide the ultimate convenience regarding transfer accessibility, ease of use, and availability. Mobile is making over the money transfer business the same way Uber changed the transportation business. 

 

The Right Time

Dorbala also cited people’s serious dissatisfaction with current money transfer options as another reason that mobile is poised to become the dominant choice. Convenience, cost, and security are among the top features people look for when sending money internationally, and mobile offers all of these things. Survey respondents even said they’d be willing to pay as much as $4 or $5 per transaction. 

 

Security Issue

Security is unsurprisingly a huge issue with international money transfers, and while MTOs aren’t the most convenient option, they have proven secure. Mobile money solutions are subsequently raising security standards to provide users with the reassurance they need. Biometrics such as facial recognition, fingerprinting, two-factor authentications, encryption technologies, and mobile network security are receiving adjustments to create the high standard of security associated with more traditional options. 

According to Dorbala, sending money internationally using a mobile device is just as secure if not more so than a credit transaction. 

Consultancy firm Juniper Research conducted the money transfer study on behalf of Amdocs. Dr. Windsor Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy at Juniper Research, echoes Dorbala’s comments about mobile’s position to take over as the main international money transfer option. He noted that mobile provides banks and MTOs with much-needed competition, and that its affordability lends itself to further evolution and efficiency. 

 

Yet Another Application

Mobile technology’s emerging role as a viable money transfer option is yet another way the technology is changing how people pay for goods and services. There are already numerous apps dedicated to bill-splitting and similar practices, including Google Wallet and Lovely, which take the headaches out of determining who owes what. Mobile is increasingly the popular way to pay for anything and everything, and there are suggestions it might overtake credit cards and cash as the favorite way to pay. 

Transferring money overseas, paying bills, splitting costs...mobile is arguably making these processes much, much easier. 

 

November 12, 2015

New ATM Concept Brings Mobile to the Fore

 

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Will that be cash or credit? These days most of us use plastic to pay for just about everything—from groceries and clothing to digital music and parking meters. But this hasn’t stopped Diebold Inc. from introducing a new line of ATMs aimed at providing future consumers with a unique mobile banking experience. 

In late October, Diebold unveiled two new ATM concepts at the Money 20/20 tradeshow in Las Vegas. The Irving and Janus models are the latest series to exclude common components of traditional ATM design and functionality. Most notably, both designs feature cardless transaction capabilities and mobile integration, which according to Diebold, will create a smoother and more convenient experience. 

 

New Features

Unlike traditional ATMs, the Irving is a sleek, screen-less, and pad-less terminal. Near Field Communication (NFC) activates the ATM when a user approaches the device.  NFC syncs with a user’s smartphone, thus eliminating the need for various material interfaces. To access funds, users verify their identities using contact-less technologies like QR codes or iris-scan and then withdraw cash. The Irving is also 32 percent smaller than traditional ATMs.

While the Irving delivers on speed and convenience, the Janus offers customer service in an entirely new format. The Janus is a dual-sided terminal, sharing basic components like alarm boards and connectivity, but can individually service two users at once from each side without compromising security or privacy. 

The Janus also incorporates mobile access features like NFC and QR code technology but also offers a tablet touch screen, which allows users to scan checks and sign documents. Additionally, if a user needs assistance, the Janus offers a 24-hour video teller for more complex problems. 

 

But Are They Safe? 

Mobilizing the ATM experience is a likely evolution. As consumers become increasingly familiar with mobile integration and applications, especially with the proliferation of banking apps, the need for brick-and-mortar bank locations decreases. But are these new cardless ATMs safe for consumers? 

Diebold’s ATM concepts reassure users with safety features covering several types of threats. First, the new machines remove nearly every skimming threat, because users would not have to slide a card or type a PIN. Second, the QR codes and other scanning technologies don’t contain any sensitive data about the user; they simply notify the smartphone of the connection. Connections are also set to expire after a short length of time, so even if the phone were lost or stolen, accessing the account would be impossible without proper user identification. And finally, the increased speed of the transaction greatly shortens the amount of time a person spends at the terminal.

Like all mobilized tasks, the use of mobile integrated ATMs will probably take some getting used to. In the future, it probably won’t be the end of the world if you forget your wallet at home, provided that you have your cell phone.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeremy Pollack has a B.A. in English from USC and has been writing professionally since 2001. He is the founder and editorial manager of Compelling Content Solutions, A copy writing and content marketing services company.

 

October 20, 2015

Be Wary of the Latest Text Message Bank Fraud Scam

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Internet scams make the news fairly regularly, spurring conversations about prevention with advice from experts as well as victims. While most of us know not to provide personal information via email, or when asked to do so by a pop-up window, few practice the same caution with regards to their smartphones. 

The latest scam involving identity theft is presenting itself to mobile users via text messages. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently got involved after several complaints surfaced regarding text massages from alleged financial institutions requesting data verification through a live link in the message. The BBB warned consumers about the fraudulent texts and reminded them of a similar case back in 2012. 

 

How it Works 

According to the BBB, mobile users were receiving alerts from their personal banks, asking them to verify their names, online IDs, and passwords at a site linked in the messages. In most cases the URL had the bank’s name included (or some variation of the name) and appeared to be almost identical to the legitimate website. Unsuspecting users would enter their personal data into the fraudulent site and would become at rick of identity theft and subsequent financial loss.  

Scams like these are, in essence, very similar to those we regularly encounter on laptop or desktop computers—usually via email or pop-up window. Over time most people have learned to avoid these scams and report them to the appropriate authorities.

So, what makes this so different? The success of this scam is tied to the emotional and irrational belief that our smartphones are safer because they are typically in our possession at all times. The intimate space of text messaging is falsely perceived as secure, more trustworthy, and relevant. 

This is unfortunately not the case. Just like unwanted push notifications, incoming solicitations and scams are very real threats if certain settings are left unchecked on a smartphone.

 

How to Combat Text Scams 

Most of have learned to deal with dubious emails and pop-up windows by deleting suspicious messages. Use the same caution on your smart device. Ignore the instructions of a text message asking for your participation to retrieve or verify personal data via text.

Further, you should check your phone bill every month. Check for services you haven’t ordered. Fraudulent changes may appear as one-time charges or be labeled ‘subscriptions,’ and may appear on each monthly bill.  

Commercial text messages, push notifications, and text subscriptions should lawfully provide you with an easy way to unsubscribe from them. If the option doesn’t appear to be available to you, check with your service provider to ensure your account hasn’t been compromised.  

Finally, ask your phone carrier about blocking third-party charges. Most phone carriers allow third parties (app companies, special ringtone services, etc.) to charge you for their services. Some carriers also have a way to block third parties from making charges. 

Don’t be afraid to call your service provider if you ever have any questions or suspect fraudulent activity. The worst thing mobile users can do if they suspect they are being scammed or unlawfully charged for services they don’t receive is nothing. Be proactive about your mobile safety, and you won’t become a victim of mobile scams. 

September 26, 2015

Are Canadian Banks Mobile Ready?

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According to a new report from CenturyLink entitled Banks: Customers Expect That You’re Always On and Available, Are You Ready?, 40 percent of Canadian banking executives say they do not have the IT infrastructure required to meet customers’ core banking service needs.  

“To stay competitive in a technology-driven marketplace, Canadian banks must be both financial institutions and mobile technology innovators,” said Roji Oommen, managing director of financial services at CenturyLink. “Given that many of these banks don’t believe they have the infrastructure in place to fully embrace mobile technology, strategic technology partners like CenturyLink can help identify and integrate the right IT and mobile technology solutions.”

The CenturyLink report notes that 26 percent of Canadians use mobile banking, which is up five percent from 2010. Much like Americans, Canadians now expect secure, round-the-clock solutions for their banking needs, making the call for mobile banking options greater than ever. 

 

Challenges for Banks

However, Canadian banks are struggling to meet these demands. Even the biggest names in Canadian banking note the pressure they feel to “get their products to market quickly,” and that their new tech-based competitors are “a disruptive force.” They still list digital customer service as a top priority, though they feel they lack the resources to make mobile payments and similar services happen quickly. In addition to the more than one-third of C-suite executives who say they don’t have the IT infrastructure they need to meet customer expectations, nearly 70 percent say they don’t have the infrastructure for digital channels, or the means to improve them. 

Canadian banks subsequently need not only to work with current mobile trends, but also to plan for the future. The future of mobile banking solutions, according to CenturyLink, is all about mobile-first applications that personalize the consumer experience. Most Canadians own at least one mobile device, and are very Internet happy, as they clock around 45 hours of usage per person per month. As of 2012, over 6.7 million Canadians pay their bills online. 

Despite widespread mobile use among Canadians, security issues still loom. Many older Canadians pay with cash due to perceived security threats, however use of cash is diminishing among Canadians of all ages.  

So how can Canadian banks provide customers with the mobile options they need and compete on a global scale? Outsourcing IT infrastructure is one solution currently being considered by banking executives. Ensuring mobile banking solutions are completely secure is another. Mobile banking is hardly a trend; rather it’s something that’s absolutely here to stay. Canadian banks must work with technology partners to make certain they go forward instead of remaining stagnant.

September 22, 2015

Making Mobile Banking Less Risky

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The world of work has undergone some radical changes over the last decade. Businesses have offices and employees scattered all over the globe; meetings take place via optic cables and tablet screens. The very notion of a ‘headquarters’, where all the important stuff happens, seems anachronistic in 2015. 

One of the key concerns for this diffuse employment culture is ensuring the security of financial transactions conducted over wireless mobile networks. There are a few ways to do this, each with their own advantages and drawbacks:

 

SMS Messaging

SMS has changed the banking industry inside and out, enhancing customer service and improving internal communications in a secure, reliable way. According to research by OpenMarket and International Data Corp (IDC), almost 90% of financial services companies believe mobile messaging has had a positive impact on the user experience, and 73% see text messages as an effective way to communicate with employees. 

SMS’ secret weapon is two-factor authentication (2FA), which drastically reduces the risk of fraudulent activity on an account. Even with 2FA in place, most financial organizations send notifications regarding high-dollar, high-risk transactions. 

The benefits of mobile banking go further than security (though, clearly, that’s the priority for both customer and bank). One in five financial services companies are using mobile messaging to ensure business continuity and enhance multichannel capacity, and one in four use it to improve risk mitigation (according to the IDC study). More than a third of banks use SMS to attract new business and improve retention rates for existing customers. 

 

Biometrics

Face, voice and fingerprint biometrics are making headway into finance security management. Facial recognition usually requires users to look at a screen and blink when prompted; for voice recognition, they read a short phrase.  

The simplicity of these actions is significant. It means biometrics and mobile messaging needn’t be mutually exclusive for the sake of convenience - they can work together to create a multi-factor authentication process that enhances security. Add to that the security of a password-restricted biometrics app, contained on the mobile device of the user, and you have a pretty tight ship.

 

Behavioral Biometrics

Even newer and shinier than physical biometrics is the concept of behavioral biometrics. It works by monitoring session behavior in desktop, mobile and cloud apps and creating a unique profile that draws on physiological data such as palm size and swipe and press patterns, as well as behavioral traits like usage preference and location habits. 

A number of behavioral biometrics systems are being developed for use by banks. Clearly, these additional layers of risk analysis and security can help protect customers - even across multiple devices - and provide a more frictionless experience at the same time.

This is all good news for mobile banking, which is already used by around half of customers at the main U.S. banks. Passwords are still expected by users, so are unlikely to disappear from view any time soon. Behavioral and physical biometrics are beginning to run alongside traditional log in data as a secondary line of defense, continually tracking the online tendencies of users to build an accurate picture and identify cyber security risks more quickly. The beauty of biometrics for the user is that there’s no need to download software or endure long sign up processes. All they have to do is, literally, be themselves.

 

January 05, 2015

Mobile Marketing for Finance Products and Services

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It’s near impossible to argue the benefits mobile marketing offers a wide variety of industries, including finance. Over a third of major U.S. bank customers regularly turn to mobile banking, and as such it’s essential that marketers take full advantage of what this ever-evolving channel provides. Chase has some 12 million customers moving an astounding $6.5 billion through mobile platforms each month, and that’s just one example. 

“For us, mobile is a critical channel, the fastest growing channel we have, and one that uniquely makes banking a lot more convenient,” says Robert Tas, Managing Director, Head of Digital Marketing at JP Morgan Chase. Tas understands full well the convenience mobile offers customers. “If I don’t have to get into my car and drive to an ATM to deposit a check, you could have saved me 30 minutes to an hour,” he says. 

Let’s take a deeper look at the many benefits mobile marketing offers the finance industry: 

Customer Loyalty

Mobile marketing functions as a true gift to finance, as late-arriving low-balance alerts are just one of the ways to create seriously unhappy customers. A simple text message notification warning customers of their account situation, however? The loyalty such messages provide banks is invaluable. 

And that’s just one way mobile ensures bank customer loyalty. SMS notifications regarding shady transactions is yet another way, as fraud and low-balance notifications are highly time-sensitive. Text also wins over email like nobody’s business, as send-to-open time for texts is 14 minutes, and email 6.4 hours. That’s one enormous difference. 

Increased Communication

Nearly 90% of American adults own mobile phones, and 75% of those send and receive text messages quite regularly. And unlike apps, text messages are compatible with every mobile device under our sun, and most open and read every single text that comes their way—95% of incoming texts are read, compared to 10% of emails. It’s therefore not a stretch to say text messaging is the best and most reliable form of mass communication currently in existence. 

Return on Investment

For companies still on the proverbial fence in regards to mobile marketing, take note: texting equals profit. The technology’s cheap and easy to use, and the average SMS user makes more transactions, has bigger “basket size,” and revolves balances, resulting in that much more income for card issuers. As a bonus, the cost of sending promotions via text is much lower than other marketing means. 

As Tracy Weber, the managing director for Consumer Interest and Mobile Banking in North America for Citi Bank notes, “To be able to delight them [customers] and provide things that really add value to their lives absolutely can go a long way in how they feel about this [mobile] category.” 

It follows that the only question left to bankers who haven’t utilized this strategy is, “Why ever not?” 

 

 

December 25, 2014

Amex Takes Mobile to Another Level

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It’s no secret that people are “addicted” to their smartphones, and that mobile advertising has eclipsed many traditional ad forms as a way to reach consumers. American Express believed the “quality and content” of ads was “not keeping pace,” resulting in a partnership with Zumobi that began in 2012. 

Zumobi offers “the very best mobile apps and advertising experiences through an array of advanced platforms for media companies.” The company’s mobile campaigns have aimed to “shake up the mobile platform norm,” and create wondrous experiences for smartphone users customized to interests and spending habits. This was accomplished via social media, video, and user-generated content. Campaigns also created “tailored timelines” of images for each user, who may also put together personalized panoramas geared towards interests such as dining, electronics, shopping, and travel. 

“We are thrilled to be tapping into Zumobi’s incredible creativity and expertise in developing innovative mobile ads that make full use of smartphones’ native capabilities across their Brand Integration (ZBi) ad platform,” Louis Paskalis, Vice President of Global Media, Content Development and Mobile Marketing, American Express, remarked at the time of the partnership.  “They are enabling us to truly bring The Membership Effect campaign to life by creating a highly interactive and personalized brand experience for card members.”

Zumobi CEO Ken Willner also noted that “this campaign is really about creating personalized and meaningful connections between American Express and its card members.”

Another appealing aspect of the AMEX-Zumobi partnership is providing cardholders with exclusive discounts and deals to restaurants and retail stores when they sync their cards with their Twitter, Facebook or Foursquare accounts. The companies elected comedian Aziz Ansari to star in their television ads, which likely enticed young people. 

American Express made a smart decision by harnessing the power of mobile ads and offering members the chance to enjoy even more discounts and opportunities when using their cards on mobile platforms. Marketing Land predicted a mobile advertising spike of between $2.5 and $3.0 billion dollars in 2012, and that number has only increased.

AMEX, Zumobi and similar companies continue to find new ways of attracting consumers through mobile means, something that will undoubtedly reap serious rewards. If in doubt, simply look around—how many people are immersed in their smartphones? Phones are no longer simply for calling and texting; smartphone use now shapes how consumers shop and how credit card companies, retailers, and other businesses appeal to their target audiences.

 

 

August 21, 2014

Mortgages Go Mobile

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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.