This article first appeared in the ABA Banking Journal. Today's world seems to be dominated by technology, particularly among younger generations that are fast rising in prominence. While financial service firms still compete with each other for market and wallet share, as an industry they struggle to draw customers' eyes away from Facebook or their iPhone. However, the industry does not have to see the tech sector as a threat. Credit card issuers such as American Express and Discover have been leaders in finding ways to partner with tech companies, integrating their capabilities onto the websites and apps their clients are already using. Here, we highlight two of those partners: Amazon and Apple.
Introduced in May 2011, Google Wallet instantly became a focus for the hype around mobile payments. The app was one of the first serious efforts to have a phone enabled with near-field communication (NFC) technology replace a physical credit card at the point of sale. A year later, though, Google Wallet has struggled to gain widespread traction due to a lack of NFC-enabled phones, minimal network infrastructure and an absence of merchants that accept Google Wallet outside of major cities. In the meantime, PayPal and Apple have developed new products and partnerships that could take mobile payments in very different directions.
This article first appeared in the ABA Banking Journal. American Express recently teamed up with social game developer Zynga and introduced the Zynga Serve Rewards Program. By combining Serve Digital Wallet (the American Express digital payment platform) with Zynga accounts, the Zynga Serve Rewards program allows gamers to receive in-game rewards when they use the new Zynga Serve co-branded pre-paid card. This is not the first time American Express has partnered with Zynga. AmEx cardholders have been able to redeem their points for e-game cards or virtual goods within the American Express Membership Rewards site for some time.
In recent weeks, both American Express and Capital One added new deals listings to their mobile apps. American Express added a My Offers section to its iPhone app listing nearby partner merchants with discounts. Offers come in two types – blue, which credit cash back on the client’s card statement, and green, which provide discounts at checkout. Capital One Deals, available on iPhone and Android apps, offer in-store and online discounts credited to the client’s statement.
Chase and LivingSocial have joined forces to raise awareness on the importance of small businesses to local communities, and to help small businesses succeed. To accomplish this goal, LivingSocial, known for offering members valuable deals from local merchants, and Chase, a provider of small businesses services and support, have come together to launch the “Mission: Small Business” program and LivingSocial Rewards Visa Card, two separate initiatives.
Barclays recently launched the new Barclaycard Ring MasterCard with the Ring Community social media platform. Together, they make the Ring credit card the first “crowd-sourced” credit card offered by the Credit Card Monitor firms. Using the Ring Community, card members will have the ability to comment on and influence the card’s product details. Ring Card The Barclaycard Ring MasterCard is a low-fee card with a current APR for purchases and balance transfers totaling 8%. The card features a unique new profit-sharing reward program called GiveBack, where customers receive a portion of the card’s generated income. However, customers only receive profits, which can also be donated to a charity, after the card’s profitability breaks a certain threshold.
The following is an excerpt from our new Mobile Monitor report titled iPad and Tablet Apps: The Future of Mobile? available now. American Express launched its tablet apps – for both the iPad and Android – in October 2011. This made them one of the first credit card issuers with an iPad app and the first financial institution Corporate Insight tracks with an app optimized for Android tablets. The firm maintains a spacious, uncluttered design across the two tablet apps, with effective card management tools, a strong mobile platform.
In late 2011, Citi unveiled a new social feedback site where public users and clients alike can preview the firm’s latest products and services and share comments. The Citi Innovation Loop site aims to use customer feedback to improve the tools and resources offered by the firm. Citi joined the ranks of American Express and Discover in providing dedicated social websites where clients could provide feedback.
PayPal’s efforts to move away from online-only transactions have intensified of late. The firm followed up its recent introduction of PayPal Herewith the new SmartPay app. Released in partnership with convenience store Cumberland Farms, SmartPay makes paying for fuel fast and convenient. Using your smartphone’s GPS, SmartPay pinpoints your location, asks for your pump number, and after fueling, allows you to pay using your PayPal account. After the transaction is processed, a receipt is sent to the e-mail address linked with the PayPal account.
While most financial services firms have devoted considerable time and effort to connecting with their customers via social media, American Express continues to be a step ahead of the competition in this space. Over the past year, AmEx has forged partnerships with Facebook and Foursquare to deliver its broad customer base a variety of new deals and rewards. Now, the firm has joined forces with another social media giant, Twitter.
Every Tuesday, Corporate Insight releases recommendations to help financial services firms improve a key aspect of the online user experience. Recommendations are taken directly from our Monitor Reports and Consulting Services research, which cover the banking, brokerage, credit card, asset management and insurance industries. This week’s recommendations come from our Credit Card Monitor report titled Credit Card Product Pages: Card Details on the Public Site and focus on ways credit card issuers can improve the credit card product information they offer prospects online:
The mobile payment landscape currently resembles the Wild West with giant corporations, social media outlets and ambitious upstarts all vying to become the payment method of choice. PayPal is the newest entrant in the mobile payment market, throwing its hat into the ring with the release of the PayPal Here app and its own triangular mobile card reader.
This article first appeared in the ABA Banking Journal. American Express recently released a new video series titled Social Media Show + Tell, which helps small business owners enhance their social media skills. Interestingly, the videos are available exclusively within AmEx’s Business Knowledge Share LinkedIn group. The firm has effectively used social media outlets to connect with small business owners in the past through the OPEN Forum website and OPEN Facebook page. Now, AmEx is starting to utilize LinkedIn’s professional social network space and is using the new videos to attract the attention of small business owners.
Dan Gualtieri is the Web Production Specialist at Corporate Insight and part of the Mobile Monitor team. Apple’s iPhone is the most popular smartphone on the market today and there is no shortage of owners who have chosen to bypass the smartphone’s standard software by “jailbreaking” their device. Jailbreaking an iPhone gives users access to an entirely separate app store, allowing them to download apps that are not sanctioned by Apple. While having access to a larger selection of apps is nice, is it safe to perform mobile banking and other information-sensitive activities on a jailbroken iPhone?
When compared to the free rewards points and engaging technology credit card companies offer customers, a free credit score doesn’t sound overly alluring. However, in the long-run, consistent monitoring of your credit score can prove to be more valuable. Of the 10 credit card issuers tracked by Credit Card Monitor, only U.S. Bank offers cardholders a free credit score. The firm makes it easy to obtain the free credit score by promoting the offer via a link directly on the client site homepage (see below).
This article first appeared in ABA Banking Journal. Chase and Wells Fargo offer small business owners online resource centers that contain materials on how to start, maintain, and market a business. The resource centers effectively use video and social media to educate small business owners in an interactive and engaging manner.
As account holders of the American Express Platinum Business card, one of the cards we track for our Small Business Credit Card Monitor service, we were recently contacted by a personal account advisor about unused benefits. For an annual fee of $450, one of the benefits of being a card holder is having a personal advisor. The advisor informed us about card benefits we were not taking advantage of, as well as offered ways we could earn more reward earnings, and the overall customer experience was very helpful.
Article: No Tricks this Halloween: Financial Service Firms Treat Clients to New Features, Products and Revamped Websites
In October, financial service firms introduced new bill pay options, providing clients with additional conveniences. A number of firms also chose to unveil new sites, primarily public, offering users more efficient navigation and streamlining access to important pages. Firms also continued to add or enhance products, making product lineups more competitive. Let’s Pay Some Bills TD Ameritrade’s brokerage site introduced a free online bill pay system, allowing clients to set up recurring or one-time payments, organize payees, access up to one year of bill pay records and receive email alerts. Similarly, Fifth Third and KeyBank unveiled new online bill payment, Metavante (FIS) interfaces, both of which simplify the process of executing a bill-payment related task. Additionally, Wells Fargo’s banking site updated its bill pay system, allows users to more easily add a payee by consolidating steps.
This article first appeared in the ABA Banking Journal. Throughout the month of September and into October, major credit card issuers have experienced a dramatic shift in followership on Facebook, coinciding with major marketing campaigns. While most brands have seen a sustained increase in the growth of fans, Chase Freedom and Capital One are standout brands. Not only have Chase Freedom and Capital One successfully achieved windfall gains in their followership, but more importantly, they have also surpassed their close competitors. Chase Freedom’s Facebook fan page doubled its followers to pass rivals MasterCard and Citibank US, while Capital One overtook American Express, a longtime industry leader.
Every Tuesday, Corporate Insight will release recommendations to help financial services firms improve a key aspect of the online user experience. Recommendations are taken directly from our comprehensive Monitor Reports and Consulting Services research, which cover the banking, brokerage, credit card, asset management and insurance industries. This week’s recommendations come from our Credit Card Monitor team and focus on ways issuers can move beyond traditional magnetic strip cards to launch or improve contactless debit or credit cards: