April 2015 Trends & Highlights: Mobile Apps, Foreign Languages and Tax Refunds

by on May 12, 2015


  • Brokerage Firms Release New Mobile Apps – In addition to the Apple Watch apps released by Fidelity, Charles Schwab and E*TRADE at the end of April, two firms – Morgan Stanley and UBS – released new apps for the Android platform and iPad/iPhone, respectively. Morgan Stanley’s first Android offering features identical capabilities to those of the firm’s iPhone app. The new UBS app offers detailed account information, credit card bill pay, funds transfers and advisor contact information. Similar to apps from its full-service competitors, the new UBS offering does not currently allow clients to trade.
  • Banks Appeal to Foreign Language Speakers – Both Chase and Wells Fargo made strides in their efforts to appeal to an international clientele in April. Chase added a Change Preferred Language option to the private site that allows customers to choose a language via a dropdown menu that Chase will use to communicate with the customer in branches and over the phone. While the preference selection does not affect the language of statements or account-specific correspondences, Chase’s attempt to reach out to non-English speaking clients demonstrates a sense of personalized customer support that more banks should mirror. Wells Fargo went one step further in its outreach to foreign language speakers by adding a Spanish language capability to its mobile app. Though not currently available to all customers, the availability of the mobile banking app in Spanish will no doubt earn Wells Fargo favor and new customers in the USA’s Spanish-speaking community.
  • Mobile Locator Tools Take Center Stage – Our P&C Insurance Monitor reported the implementation of new locator tools within the mobile apps of both GEICO and Liberty Mutual. GEICO’s ride locator tool allows users to share their current location with a friend or find a taxi provider. The new GEICO GPS-enabled Destinations tool also allows users to search for local places by category – Food & Drink, Activities, Outdoors & Recreation – and then sort results by distance and rating. Liberty Mutual’s locator tool lets users search for ATMs, gas stations and auto service stations. Users can either enter a keyword, or filter by type of service within a GPS-captured location, with results displayed in map or list format.


Discover Unveils New Security Feature

The new feature – “Freeze It” – allows customers to freeze their accounts within seconds through an on/off switch on the firm’s mobile app or website. Once the switch is activated, new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers are locked until the account is unfrozen. The feature gives peace of mind to clients who have misplaced their card and offers an instant solution to distressing security issues. 

New_Freeze_It_Security_Feature New Freeze It Security Feature

TD Ameritrade Takes Some Pain Out of Tax Season

TD Ameritrade is currently offering a cash bonus to clients who direct deposit a tax refund into their TD Ameritrade account. Clients who deposit $2,500 to $4,999 will receive $20, while those who direct deposit $5,000 or more will see an extra $50 added to their account. The incentivized savings promotion is valid until December 31, 2015 and represents a notable effort at tax refund outreach among brokerage firms that we track.

TD_Ameritrade_Cash_Bonus_Page Cash Bonus Promotional Page (Truncated)