“Being in the financial services community has been more than interesting in the last several years – both good interesting and bad interesting. What has been “good interesting” lately is the advent of mobile payment technology for consumers. For the longest time, PC-based online banking and its accompanying bill payment feature has been the only game in town. If the average consumer is anything like me, he or she probably watches TV with his/her iPad handy to check emails or do a quick search on the web. Product development researchers evidently know this.
During the most recent election cycle, it was interesting to note you could text to donate to the major campaigns either through a text message or a mobile app. This effectively presented the opportunity to participate in a campaign to anyone with a mobile device. It also especially engages members of the younger demographic who, anecdotally, are more likely to own a smart phone. The transaction itself is quick and very easy to execute, in some cases, I’m sure, equating the donation to an impulse purchase. The same is true for the Red Cross’s efforts for Hurricane Sandy relief which has made it possible to make a $10 donation by simply sending a text to a specified number.
All of this is relatively new technology that was not available during the 2008 presidential campaigns and is evolving very quickly. As a Community Bank, we regularly perform a healthy dose of due diligence before new technologies are launched to ensure that these new services meet our customers’ needs efficiently and securely. We are one of the few community banks with a mobile app for online banking found in the major app stores and we will shortly be upgrading our website to provide a better consumer experience to mobile device users knowing this is another way our customers and potential customers want to interact with First County Bank. We’ve already seen a strong shift among our website users from using a standard PC to browse our website to using a mobile device or a smart phone and we’re ready for the change. Text banking is another enhancement to our mobile banking platform that our implementation teams will tackle within the first and second quarter of the new year. We’re watching the emerging new payment technology very closely and feel confident that it will soon become widely available with secure industry standards.
It was not too long ago the death and demise of the bank branch was predicted. We are far from that and stay committed to being sure our customers can interact with us via any channel – including from your couch.