Bank of America has been actively upgrading its mobile services over the last month with new money movement, customer support and mobile shopping features. Recently, we were invited, along with other industry analysts and journalists, to a session to discuss these enhancements and the firm’s mobile strategy over breakfast.
The digital banking panel consisted of Aditya Bhasin, Marketing Analytics and Strategy Executive; Dave Godsman, Senior Vice President for Online & Mobile Solutions; and Marc Warshawsky, Senior Vice President for Mobile Solutions. All three shared their thoughts on Bank of America’s mobile development and goals. In particular, they highlighted several new additions to the firm’s mobile platforms:
- P2P payments – Through clearXchange, B of A customers can now send money to anyone via their email address or mobile phone number. With similar services multiplying, B of A’s mobile experts consider having a convenient and secure payment network a necessary competitive move. Bhasin also emphasized the importance of small personal touches, such as a message with a payment.
- BankAmeriDeals – The BankAmeriDeals program grew out of client demand for B of A to “help them save money where they shop.” The program presents customers with partner “offers” or “coupons” related to their past spending – all while maintaining privacy and security by keeping client data in-house. Signup is available online as well, but mobile has the potential to integrate the B of A app into everyday shopping and strengthen the firm’s place in the purchase experience.
- Remote deposit capture (RDC) & push alerts – While these are not new technologies for the retail financial services industry, they fit well with the strategy B of A outlined: to use the mobile channel for customer support, keeping it “simple, reliable, secure” and, in customers’ own words, the “most convenient way to interact with Bank of America.”
Other themes emerged throughout their remarks and the Q&A.; The mobile channel is only set to become more prevalent – mobile banking sessions were predicted to eclipse online over the next two years, and transactions in those areas are shifting branch services toward a “consultative sales” role, e.g., for small businesses and Merrill Edge investors. Non-traditional competitors including startups are influencing the space, just another motivation for keeping mobile services up to date. And finally, as mobile continues to develop, security takes on even greater importance, as does educating customers in that regard.
Bank of America hasn’t always been first to market with mobile technology, but has been active recently. Their leadership clearly considers mobile a priority; Bhasin, Godsman and Warshawsky seem very enthusiastic about their new introductions. With one more major player stepping up, competition within mobile finance only continues to increase. Functionalities such as P2P and RDC are becoming standard and new innovations in areas such as mobile shopping are necessary to stand out.