The majority of mobile device users conduct at least one or two financial activities on their smartphone or tablet. While some people worry about security, they can’t resist using the mobile web and apps to check bank accounts and investments.
According to a report from Prosper Insights & Analytics, more than 3 in 4 mobile users (77.1 percent) conduct banking activities using a smartphone or tablet and more than half (57.9 percent) say they engage in shopping behaviors via mobile. Two in five (44.5 percent) also say they pay bills, create shopping lists (43.3 percent) and “clip” coupons on their mobile devices (40.2 percent).
The report also found that women appear more likely than men to engage in couponing and list-creating activities via mobile devices. Among the bills that are paid are wireless service, credit card, and internet service. What mobile users want most is to be able to check balances on the go, find ATMs and be alerted if they are about to overdraw their accounts. For these purposes, they want reliable functionality from the mobile web, apps and their banks.
Retail Collides with Mobile
Two thirds of the US GDP, the world’s leading economy, comes from retail consumption. Now the retail industry is colliding with the mobile app economy. According to a recent IBM report, said Flurry Analytics, more than 18 percent of shoppers used a smartphone or tablet to access a retailer’s website on Cyber Monday in 2012, an increase of 70 percent over 2011. Mobile made up 13 percent of total web-based purchases.
The Flurry analysis provides these examples of the kind of apps across shopping sub-categories:
• Retailer Apps: Walmart, Target, Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret, Gap, Saks 5th Avenue
• Price Comparison: RedLaser, Grocery iQ
• Purchase Assistant: ShopSavvy, ShopAdvisor
• Online Marketplace: eBay, Amazon
• Daily Deals: Groupon, Living Social
Juniper Research Counts Coupons
The number of discount coupons redeemed through mobile and tablet devices is expected to reach 10 billion this year, up by more than 50 percent on last year, a new report from Juniper Research has found.
According to the report, innovative retailers are increasingly seeking to offer mobile as a delivery channel, as a means of driving retail footfall and to enhance consumer engagement and retention. While mobile still accounted for a comparatively low volume of coupons issued, retailers are encouraged by the markedly higher average redemption rate of mobile coupons (10 percent) when compared to traditional print media and PC coupons (typically one or less).
The report stressed that coupons should include a time-based element. Retailers noted that a number of offers without a deadline had gone unintentionally viral leading to brands being unable to service the demand for their products.
Turning a Check into Cash
Remote deposit capture (RDC) is growing in popularity and more banks are offering the feature. Fifth Third Bank recently reported that it is offering mobile deposit functionality in its markets for iPhone and Android users.
Most tech-savvy consumers are familiar with remote deposit capture technology. The customer takes a photo of the check with their smartphone, plugs in some information, submits for clearance, and a few days later the funds appear in the account. No more running over to the bank branch at midnight or searching for an ATM at lunch.
But now there’s an even more novel approach to remote deposit capture and it involves prepaid. The Consumer Protection Financial Bureau (CPFB), H&R Block and a lot of consumers are looking at Plastyc and its platform, which enables consumers to access funds early. Depositors can access their funds several days after deposit for no fee, as they would do with similar platforms. However, Plastyc also offers consumers the option to access the funds immediately for a small fee, determined by the type of check they wish to deposit.
Plastyc has an arrangement with Chexar Networks and its Spyke network, a company that manually reviews the most challenging checks using the smart score system. Consumers snap a photo of a paper check and they can deposit to their Visa prepaid card accounts.
Let’s look at how the fees work. Consumers pay just one percent for any payroll or government-issued check from which they wish to receive immediate funds, and four percent for all other forms of checks. Consumers can deposit amounts up to $2,500, which is significantly higher than other mobile deposit services. Or they choose delayed access, which loads the funds onto the card for free provided the check has not been returned to the network after five business days.
The ability to deposit scanned paper checks provides Plastyc customers with everything they need as an alternative to traditional checking accounts. In addition, the option of accessing funds right away provides a more convenient and cost-effective alternative to using a check cashing store for people who can’t wait. •