Mobile Apps, Rewards Top Finovate Agenda

Innovations aim to improve the consumer experience.

September 22, 2011

New mobile applications and fresh spins on consumer and merchant rewards programs dominated much of the discussion Wednesday during FinovateFall in New York City.

Among the highlights:

Decision support

T8 Webware unveiled Grip, a financial decision-support tool that helps consumers understand the flow of their money. This mobile and table app enables financial institutions to provide quick, convenient information for busy consumers, with no need for core integration.

The company charges 99 cents per month for the app, which credit unions can market with their own unique identity.

Grip streams financial data from various sources, provides alerts, and aggregates consumers’ financial information.

“We took the idea of balancing your check book to a mobile device,” says Wade Arnold, CEO. “It’s a digital ledger of all your accounts.”

The company provides a dashboard for partner financial institutions, allowing them to gauge use and see certain consumer behaviors, including heat maps of ATM locations.

Personalized marketing

Offermatic proposes a different approach to the “daily deal” model of rewards: “We don’t do random deals,” says Faisal Qureshi, CEO and founder.

If consumers spend money at Home Depot, for example, they’ll likely receive deal offers for that store, Qureshi explains. And when they spend a certain amount at the store, they’ll get cash back—deposited directly and automatically on their cards.

Qureshi’s main complaints with most “daily deal” services: everyone gets the same offer, and merchants can’t track repeat purchases.

“That’s a big deal,” he says. “You have no idea how much people spend. We track repeat purchases and provide analytics. If we send a merchant 9,800 customers, we can tell them if they came back, how much they spent, and whether they came back multiple times. If they didn’t go back, we can send a retention offer.

“Every year, marketers spend billions on special offers—and it’s mostly wasted,” he continues. “The future of marketing is personalized offers to consumers who want to receive them.”

Security solution

The vast majority of banking security systems focus solely on malware—trying to stop fraudulent transactions.

But financial institutions shouldn’t put the onus on consumers—users should be allowed to conduct online transactions confidentially even if their computers have been infected by malware, says Kris Nowak, director of international business development for Crealogix E-Banking.

The company offers XLX.SentinelDisplay, which guarantees transaction integrity through display-based confirmation/signing, while the CLX.SecureBrowser ensures confidentiality and thwarts the impact of malware.

The solution implements an encrypted, bi-directional, end-to-end channel between the e-banking server and the device firmware.

“Our browser is single-purposed for e-banking,” Nowak explains. “It’s a point-to-point channel established between the device and the banking center.”

Transfers made easy

The biggest impediment to convincing consumers to transfer credit card balances is the paperwork and hassle involved.

Mitek Systems addresses that barrier with Mitek Mobile Balance Transfer, which lets consumers use their smartphone cameras to conduct credit card balance transfers in real time.

The mobile application allows consumers to take a picture of a competitor’s credit card payment coupon with their smartphones. The customer transmits the information to the financial institution, which then can offer a better interest rate to incent the customer to transfer an existing balance and open a new card.

“We help [financial institutions] connect more conveniently to consumers,” says Drew Hyatt, Mitek’s senior vice president of sales and business development. “And we enable consumers to save money—point, shoot, transfer, and save.”

Most financial institutions use direct mail for balance transfer offers, receiving paltry response rates at great expense. “It’s not efficient for the financial institution or the consumer,” Hyatt says. “This way, customers are acting in real time so they get instant gratification.”