Here’s what has been happening with Mobile Financial news.
Bank of America SMS overdraft service
Bank of America is planning to launch a service to inform customers of overdraft situations with a text message. The system would inform the customer in real time when a debit card purchase exceeds the account balance. Upon receiving the message, the customer can reply a request Bank of America to cover the purchase. The customer then has until the end of the banking day to replace the funds in their account to avoid an overdraft fee of $35. The service is set to launch in 2012. See here.
My Take: This is a clever use of mobile technology to encourage debit card usage. They may collect fewer overdraft fees, but the extra transactions should offset that.
Scaling back of Isis?
In November 2010 Isis venture was announced with much fanfare to provide a payment system based on mobile phones. Isis got a lot of attention because it was being backed by major US carriers (Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile) as well as financial services companies (Discover and Barclays). Accounts would be kept with the carrier instead of a credit card or bank account. A fee per transaction would be charged. The first trials of Isis are scheduled to happen in mid-2012 in Salt Lake City for use with its mass transit system.
The Wall Street Journal reported (subscription required) that Isis is now scaling back their ambitions and will be including support for Visa and MasterCard. Isis representatives say that they not scaling back, and that they planned to work with other payment systems all along. See here.
My Take: This certainly takes some of the steam out of the Isis venture and turns it into another “me too” NFC system.
Visa “Digital Wallet”
Visa announced its intention to release a “digital wallet” system this fall. One aspect of digital wallet is mobile payments with NFC using Visa’s existing payWave system. Digital Wallet will allow for “eCommerce, mobile commerce, micropayments, social network and person-to-person payments” The system will allow for retail payments using NFC as well as person to person transfers.
Online you will be able to use digital wallet by providing a username and password instead of full contact information.
My Take: Sounds like Visa is trying to compete with PayPal.
Bank of America new iPhone and iPad app
Bank of America has launched a new version of its iPhone app as well as an all new iPad application. Both applications allow users to do basic banking functions (check deposit and credit card accounts, pay bills, view transactions, transfer funds). The new apps sport a native UI instead of the web interface they used to use. New features include a payment calendar to view when bills and scheduled payments are due.
My Take: BofA’s app gets a badly needed facelift. The iPad app is easier to use than BofA’s website in Safari.
Update: Sadly, remote deposit capture (the ability to deposit a check by taking its picture) is missing. This is somewhat surprising as RDC is becoming a must have feature.