December 2013 Trends & Highlights – Holiday Season Brings Security Breaches, Financial Education Tools and New Mobile Features

by on Jan 08, 2014

December was characterized by a diverse host of new additions and developments. Among other highlights, our coverage group’s mobile applications added new tools and features, Allstate completely revamped its website, and Fidelity launched a new educational microsite.
 
Banks Wary of Target Data Breach
Numerous banking and credit card firms published press releases or added announcements to their website copy to reassure customers in the wake of the recent credit card data breach at Target. Bank of America, Chase, Citizens Bank, Capital One, PNC and TD Bank all made special efforts to inform users on how and when the breach occurred, and encouraged them to be wary of unusual account activity. All announcements led to information on the firms’ fraud protection policies.

 

Citizens Bank Notice Regarding Target Breach Announcement
Citizens Bank Notice Regarding Target Breach Announcement
 
Simple New Tool Helps Consumers Plan for Big Purchases
Barclaycard’s private site boasts a new Purchase Planner tool that allows users to estimate how long it will take to pay off a hypothetical purchase. Users must enter a purchase amount and a desired payment timeframe – interest is automatically included – and then the tool recommends an appropriate monthly payment to meet that goal.

 

Barclaycard Purchase Planner Tool
Barclaycard Purchase Planner Tool
 
Fidelity Encourages Smart Savings Practices
Teaming with third-party financial planner LearnVest, Fidelity launched a new Money Firsts microsite that offers a wide range of financial education and advice across three main sections. The first, Learn, introduces basic financial concepts and terms while the second, Act , teaches young investors how to use that knowledge to reach their financial goals. The final section, Live, encourages users to share their financial goals through Facebook. The provided resources are quite varied – including articles, videos and quizzes – and often interactive; the Couples Quiz challenges two people to consider and compare their financial goals.

 

Fidelity Money Firsts Site (Truncated)
Fidelity Money Firsts Site (Truncated)
 
Firms Add New Features to Mobile Apps
optionsXpress updated its phone and tablet apps to include a new Idea Hub tool that helps users explore new investment opportunities across four distinct themes: Big Movers, Earnings, Premium Harvesting and Covered Calls. Each category compiles applicable stocks and details how many are bullish, bearish or neutral investments. Users can browse the presented stocks in a gallery-style view or in a more traditional spreadsheet layout, and can directly select desired options for trading. Other notable app updates include the addition of a stock screener to e-Trade’s app and the integration of community discussion forums into USAA’s.
 
optionsXpress Idea Hub
optionsXpress Idea Hub
 
Allstate Overhauls Public and Private Sites
Allstate completely redesigned its public and private sites by improving its navigation structure and content organization. The most notable changes include an updated main navigation menu and footer, more public billing and payment information, and increased agent presence and interaction. The firm now facilitates seamless transfer between the public and private sites, which were previously more remote from each other and more difficult to navigate between. The majority of the public site content remains unchanged and, overall, the new sites are more user-friendly than their predecessors, which concentrated on text-based links and used lengthy, inconvenient navigation menus.

 

New Allstate Public Homepage
New Allstate Public Homepage