TD Ameritrade’s Snapstock Connects Shoppers to Mobile Quotes

by on Feb 22, 2012

altAt this point, most mobile apps offer simplified versions of online capabilities, but mobile technology has the potential for much more. With a bit of creativity, financial services firms can identify needs that currently go unmet and develop new tools for their customers. One such example is TD Ameritrade’s new Snapstock tool.

How Snapstock Works
Snapstock is a bar code scanning tool – to our knowledge, the first of its kind in the brokerage industry – available through the firm’s TD Ameritrade Mobile app for iPhone and Android. While out shopping, clients can scan a product’s bar code with their phone’s camera to view a quote for the company or add the company’s symbol to a watch list.

Testing out Snapstock, we were impressed with how smoothly the tool worked. Clients need to simply hover the camera interface over a product’s bar code and the app automatically recognizes and scans it. It’s highly dependent on the data connection speed, but when there’s a strong signal, Snapstock returns the symbol and company name within seconds.

Scan and Trade?
The firm’s press release and Snapstock informational page emphasize how easy Snapstock makes it to find symbols and place trades. Functionally, trading isn’t an immediate option, although it’s only a couple steps away after getting a full quote on the app. We find it unlikely, though, that an investor would be so impressed with a product they see while browsing that they’d want to immediately buy (or sell) shares in the parent company.

That said, even if it doesn’t lead to instant trades, Snapstock can help the mobile channel play an important role in clients’ investment decisions. Adding the symbol to a watch list is a smart alternative to rushing into a trade. Snapstock’s real advantage is the ability to instantly connect clients to research data and tools as investment ideas come to them.

Final Thoughts
What makes Snapstock so innovative is that it allows actions that would be impossible without a mobile device. Smartphones struggle to provide the same powerful research and trading tools offered online, but with tools like Snapstock, firms can make the mobile channel a driver of investment research and (eventually) trading.