Bank+smartphone = new horizons?
Your bank is getting in closer ties with your smartphone. Online and mobile banking have been with us for a while, allowing you to track your spending, pay bills and even deposit checks through your iPhone or Android smartphone. Recently Visa and Discover announced interesting new features for mobile banking. Let’s have a look at the trending mobile features available today.
No more declined transactions abroad
That probably happened to many of us: You are trying to make a purchase, but the bank declines the transaction and blocks your card until further clarification.
Unless you inform your bank each time you go abroad, you may find yourself in this awkward and unpleasant situation.
VISA recently came up with nice and simple idea to track your location (location of your smartphone basically) to match it with your account activity. That should help to increase fraud protection on the credit card without the frustration that your card will be blocked every time you use it in an unusual location.
New feature is called Mobile Travel Confirmation and it’s opt-in service available within your mobile bank application.
Similar feature that allowed you to inform your bank before travelling via mobile app was earlier announced by several US banks, Bank of America in particular, but the VISA approach seems more convenient – allowing the bank to seamlessly track your phone and match it with a credit card usage.
Recurring payments and returns for misplaced Discover card
If your wallet was lost or stolen, or you just occasionally left your Discover credit card somewhere, you can “freeze” your account with new in-app feature Freeze It. New feature is targeted to give you additional peace of mind and security, but also helps to avoid the hassle of lost card replacement process.
While the card account is in “frozen” mode, no one can make new transactions, purchases and cash withdrawal. Nevertheless, recurring payments, refunds and rewards redemption will continue to go through. This is a useful On-Off feature that can be activated online, over the phone or with a mobile app.
Mobile check deposits
Mobile check deposit has been one of the most requested features in many banking customer surveys. Today not only the biggest US retail banks offer this feature to their clients, but even smaller local ones have this feature in their mobile apps. The idea is that instead of visiting the bank to cash the check, or using a cash-in ATM for that, you just snap a photo of the signed check on your mobile phone and the bank process the payment.
Check if your bank has this feature available – it is convenient and well worth trying it.
Peer-to-Peer transactions is the holy grail of mobile banking. The feature that allows users to send payments to each other directly and seamlessly will definitely revolutionize the industry. Just imagine how easier it will be to make everyday payments using an app rather than writing a paper check that originated from the 19th century.
Many new players are competing with the banks in this field; some of them, like PayPal or Square are already very successful in it. Many big names like Amazon, Google and even Facebook already stepped in the P2P with their services.
The biggest problem in the P2P currently is that while banks are not really trying to create a competitive product, and new entrants like PayPal or a Facebook are still a third party providers, which means another account, another password to remember, new security risks involved.
A good example of an attempt by big banks to fight with PayPal is a ClearXChange. This P2P payments network, created by biggest US retail banks has a potential to become a mainstream, but since its inception in 2011 it is still very slowly getting traction. Currently Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, FirstBank and Wells Fargo are the partners of the network and Capital One and U.S. Bank are finalizing integration into the system.
There is a good chance that you never heard of this option, although you have a checking account with one of the participating banks. The problem is that banks use ClearXChange as a white label solution; every participating bank gives a service its own original name and advertises it among its clients.
The truth is – you can send money from any participating banks to any checking account in participating and even in non-participating banks for free knowing only an email or a telephone number of a recipient.
Hope we will see more interesting and useful mobile banking features in the near future with more and more tech companies pushing the banks to innovate.
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