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Posts in category 'Financial'

12 December 2012

Service design for innovative banking

 

Chris Brooker recently ran the Service Design for Innovative Banking workshop at the World Usability Day conference in Silesia, Poland, during which he explored how service design techniques can produce unique service ideas for the rapidly evolving banking sector.

Brooker has now summarized the content of the workshop and some innovative new financial services.

20 June 2012

Spaniards turn to barter, alternative banks to alleviate economic pain

 

Spanish institutions are in no shape to help struggling Spaniards, so they’re turning to alternative banks and ways of exchanging goods to get by, reports Andrés Cala in the Christian Science Monitor.

“The quest for economic alternatives has picked up in recent months. Neighbors are organizing online and on the ground to do what banks and government institutions no longer can or are willing to do. They are repopulating the countryside with communes; they are moving savings from traditional national banks to home-grown socially responsible entities; and they are connecting those in need with those who can help.”

Read article

12 May 2012

Do you really want your bank following you around all day?

shutterstock_chase

A conversation with senior Wells Fargo execs reveals a bank trying to use the Internet, social media and mobile technology to worm its way deeper and deeper into their customers’ lives.

“Brian Pearce, senior VP in charge of Wells Fargo’s retail mobile channel, said the bank sees mobile as “a way to be with our customers all day long.”

Wells Fargo’s aim to go wherever its customers go involves more than getting them to use mobile apps, mobile websites and text banking. Pearce wants to move beyond purely mobile interactions into so-called “simultaneous uses.” After all, Pearce pointed out, people always have their phones with them, so they can use them at the same time as they’re engaged with ATMs, tellers or wellsfargo.com.

Customers could use their phone instead of a card to log into the ATM or ID themselves to a teller, for example. Or the bank could use geofencing to identify and alert a customer’s personal banker every time they walk into a branch.”

Read article

22 April 2012

Trust and the future of mobile money

shutterstock_mobile_payments

Even within the technology community, 33% agreed with the below statement:

“People will not trust the use of near-field communications devices and there will not be major conversion of money to an all-digital, all-the-time format. By 2020, payments through the use of mobile devices will not have gained a lot of traction as a method for transactions. The security implications raise too many concerns among consumers about the safety of their money. And people are resistant to letting technology companies learn even more about their personal purchasing habits. Cash and credit cards will still be the dominant method of carrying out transactions in advanced countries.”

Read article

18 April 2012

The future of money in a mobile age

 

Within the next decade, smart-device swiping will have gained mainstream acceptance as a method of payment and could largely replace cash and credit cards for most online and in-store purchases by smartphone and tablet owners, according to a new survey of technology experts and stakeholders.

Many of the people surveyed by Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center and the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project said that the security, convenience and other benefits of “mobile wallet” systems will lead to widespread adoption of these technologies for everyday purchases by 2020.

Others—including some who are generally positive about the future of mobile payments—expect this process to unfold relatively slowly due to a combination of privacy fears, a desire for anonymous payments, demographic inertia, a lack of infrastructure to support widespread adoption, and resistance from those with a financial stake in the existing payment structure.

The survey results are based on a non-random, opt-in, online sample of 1,021 Internet experts and other Internet users, recruited via email invitation, Twitter or Facebook from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University. Since the data are based on a non-random sample, a margin of error cannot be computed, and the results are not projectable to any population other than the experts in this sample.

Download report

9 April 2012

From banker to service designer

0109

Olga Morawczysnki, project Manager of Grameen Foundation’s AppLab Money Incubator (a CGAP-sponsored new initiative that develops mobile financial products for the poor) and Jan Chipchase, executive creative director of global insights at frog, argue that large scale adoption of (mobile) financial services by the poor will only happen if providers in this sector approach the problem of financial inclusion like service designers, and look at the current experience of banking in poor communities.

“Imagine if a banker approached the problem of financial inclusion from the perspective of a service designer. For starters, the banker would leave his comfortable air-conditioned office and drop his assumptions about the poor. He would spend time in the villages, travelling by overcrowded shared taxis, to learn about the lives of this segment. He would look at the drivers of financial behaviors, and build a richer understanding of why particular financial habits exist. He would also quickly recognize that “the poor” are not a homogeneous group, and that ample opportunities exist for creating segments, such as traders, cash-crop farmers, mechanics and shopkeepers.”

Read article

A longer and more thorough reflection on the same matter can be found in the paper “Mobile Banking: Innovation for the Poor” by Tashmia Ismail and Khumbula Masinge of the University of Pretoria’s Gordon School of Business Science (GIBS).

Access to, and the cost of, mainstream financial services act as a barrier to financial inclusion for many in the developing world. The convergence of banking services with mobile technologies means however that users are able to conduct banking services at any place and at any time through mobile banking thus overcoming the challenges to the distribution and use of banking services (Gu, Lee & Suh, 2009). This research examines the factors influencing the adoption of mobile banking by the Base of the Pyramid (BOP) in South Africa, with a special focus on trust, cost and risk including the facets of risks: performance risk, security/privacy risk, time risk, social risk and financial risk. The research model includes the original variables of extended technology acceptance model (TAM2) (Venkatesh & Davis, 2000).

Data for this study was collected through paper questionnaires in townships around Gauteng. This research has found that customers in the BOP will consider adopting mobile banking as long as it is perceived to be useful and perceived to be easy to use. But the most critical factor for the customer is cost; the service should be affordable. Furthermore, the mobile banking service providers, both the banks and mobile network providers, should be trusted. Trust was found to be significantly negatively correlated to perceived risk. Trust therefore plays a role in risk mitigation and in enhancing customer loyalty.

2 January 2012

More than money

morethanmoney

It’s increasingly clear that we live in collaborative times. Many of the most interesting innovations of recent years have at their heart ideas of sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, exchanging or swapping. These are age-old concepts being reinvented through network technologies and a cultural shift driven by the more civic minded millennial generation.

The report, with the subtitle “Platforms for exchange and reciprocity in public services”, was commissioned by NESTA and nef in an attempt to learn the lessons from the past and to provide a framework for understanding the many different approaches to complementary currencies and other platforms for reciprocal exchange.

An associated literature review brings together the existing evidence of impact, outcomes and cost that exist across reciprocal exchange systems. Time banks, complementary currencies and peer-to-peer platforms for collaborative consumption are all examples of these reciprocal exchange systems, and to structure this review we have created a typology of different types of systems to organise the evidence.

13 September 2011

What’s different about customer experience in financial services?

NFC payment
When we talk about customer or user experience in the financial services arena, what do we actually mean? The understanding of banks and banking is not a straightforward concept, and there are different types of banks out there which serve different purposes for different audiences.

To pick apart some of the layers of customer experience that the financial services sector contains (and in some cases really needs to work on), Martin Rosenmejer has written up a few key tips from Webcredible’s experience in retail banking and investment banking clients highlighting major areas to keep in mind when designing or re-designing customer experience in these two distinct sub-categories.

Read article

6 June 2011

The future of money in a webbed-up world

The future of money
Digital cash and online markets have the potential to loosen governments’ grip on the currency that makes the economy go round. In this special report the New Scientist examines how this could change money forever.

Editorial – Back to a networked world
The internet is changing our relationship with money for the better.

Virtual cash – Bitcoin gets real
Digital cash and online markets have the potential to loosen governments’ grip on the currency that makes the economy go round.

Macon Money – A currency that’s building community
A social game that pays people to meet one another could help overcome socioeconomic barriers and strengthen local economies.

Social networks – Crowdsourcing cash
We’re moving into a world where everyone is spending and lending multiple virtual currencies.

Mobile Apps – Commuters will be the bellwether for Google Wallet
An analysis of mobile payment systems in Japan, where the technology has been used for years, shows that commuters are the biggest users.

8 May 2011

Redesigning banking with behavioral economics in mind

BankSimple
Neil Savage reports in the MIT Technology Review how, by studying customers and rethinking the user interface, designers find ways to make online banking more enjoyable.

“To design the experience, [the BankSimple designers] looked for insights from behavioral economics, which relies on psychology to understand economic decisions. For instance, it’s easier to get people to try something if they have to opt out of it rather than opt in. The team applied this insight to a feature of the bank that allows people to set aside funds toward a particular goal; it’s not a separate account, just a line highlighted on the screen with a label like “Hawaii trip” or “new laptop.” To encourage customers to try the feature, BankSimple starts them with the goal of saving $1,000 in an emergency fund.”

Read article

13 January 2011

UX design in the financial services industry

UX and the City
Harald Felgner alerts us to a presentation by Amir Dotan of LAB49 where he shares his experiences working as a user experience architect in the financial services industry in London.

The talk is structured in three parts:
1. The job of a UX professional in the financial services industry
2. The trading floor work environment and its impact on UX work
3. Closing user experience design considerations

View presentation

22 November 2010

Can the developed world learn from Kenya’s experience with the mobile wallet?

m-pesa
Using your mobile phone to do your banking and to buy goods and services is becoming more common, with the rise of the smartphone.

In developing world countries like Kenya, the technology to do this has been around for several years – and you do not need a bank account to use it.

M-Pesa launched in 2007, and there are now nearly 100 services like it around the world, mainly in developing countries.

Can the developed world learn from Kenya’s experience with the mobile wallet?

The BBC’s Fiona Graham finds out.

Watch video

1 October 2010

Nokia building loyalty among the bankless

Nokia Money
The Register reports at length on Nokia’s move into Mobile Money.

“For a technology company, Mobile Money is remarkably low-tech. Only the tiniest amount of bandwidth is necessary for a financial transaction, and it doesn’t need to be instant – the store and forward of SMS is perfectly good enough. There are a number of technologies used in Mobile Money, including USSD, SIM toolkit, Java and plain old voice through IVR – which is great for places with an illiterate population. None of these technologies are new. The barriers to Mobile Money are business models and logistics.

So while it might seem that Mobile Money is just another ecosystem in Nokia’s service strategy, look closer and you find that Mobile Money is a peculiarly good fit.”

Read article

15 June 2010

The innovative use of mobile applications in East Africa

Apps in Africa
The Swedish International Development Corporation Agency (SIDA) has published a report by Johan Hellström (blog) that gives an overview of the current state of mobile phone use and services in East Africa.

The report outlines major trends and main obstacles for increased use as well as key opportunities and potential for scaling-up mobile applications. It draws on secondary data and statistics as well as field work carried out in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya during 2008 and 2009.

It identifies relevant applications in an East African context for reaching and empowering the poor and contribute to social and economic development. The identified mobile applications range from small pilots to scaled-up initiatives – from simple agricultural, market or health information services to fairly advanced financial and government transaction services.

From the executive summary:

“The ‘killer application’ in East Africa is peer to peer communication, i.e. voice, SMS and beeping. The number of subscribers who use their phones to access internet is however steadily growing, which opens up for a whole range of new applications and possibilities. Many of the existing SMS based applications that could benefit the poor the most are still in their infancy in the region. A few successful cases, namely mobile money transaction systems and various health related solutions are being used at scale, but the fact remains that the number of scaled-up mobile services are still few and/or limited geographically.

So, what hinders the take off of mobile applications for economic and social development in East Africa?

  • First the cost of communication must go down – SMS is very overpriced and so is voice and data traffic.
  • Secondly, many applications and services never reach out to the masses due to poor marketing and the non-existing meta data about the available applications. Subscribers must know what solutions are available, why and how to use them. This will lead to volumes intensive which will eventually lower the price of the particular service. In other words, there is a huge need for marketing (of the product) and education (for the end user) in order to make mobile applications sustainable.
  • Thirdly, many interventions are not designed with scale in mind. Few implementers are familiar with all the costs involved and seen from a technological point of view, the requirements on networks and different requirements on handsets and end-users that mobile applications have must be understood better.

Despite these challenges, we are witnessing a small revolution regarding new applications and services added to the mobile phone.

Some high potential application areas include financial services and various governance related services. After successful implementations of mobile money services in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and most recently in Rwanda, m-banking is set to grow. As it grows, there will be an integration of m-transactions systems into existing applications and services and m-commerce in general will thereby take off rapidly and widespread. Public service delivery can be improved by integrating services with m-transactions and facilitating interaction between the state and its citizens.”

Download report
Read article

26 May 2010

Mobile banking: mediated use

CGAP
Jan Chipchase (frog design and until recently an acclaimed user researcher/anthropologist at Nokia) reflects on the topic of technical and textual illiteracy in the context of mobile banking, and the role of privacy within the mediated use illiterate people often need to rely on.

“Textual and technical illiteracy is often cited as a barrier to the adoption of services and by default the benchmark for success is often set at ‘understanding and completing the task by oneself’. However if there are ‘literate’ people nearby to what extent does it matter that the user is illiterate?

‘Mediated use’ is simply recognising that part or all of a task or process is mediated through others.

Read article

16 May 2010

The trust economy: A world of P2P money-lending

P2P money lending
Wired UK has published a long article on P2P money-lending in its June issue:

The article devotes particular attention to Kiva.org, a San Francisco-based peer-to-peer (P2P) non-profit, which uses the principles of social networking to connect individual or group lenders to entrepreneurs via microfinance institutions (MFIs) around the world, and Zopa.com, a British matchmaker for borrowers and lenders.

“Just as eBay shook offline retail to its foundations, P2P lending models such as Kiva, though still marginal, threaten to disrupt high-street banking. Although the public’s faith in banks has been damaged and credit remains hard to come by, evidence suggests that a new trust-based economy is proving more efficient than traditional lending. [...]

If P2P finance has yet to prove scalable or profitable, it’s also true that, not so long ago, the same was said of other web ventures which went on to change the world.”

Read article

29 April 2010

Cellphone payments offer alternative to cash

Cashless
The New York Times reports on how a number of big and small companies — including eBay’s PayPal unit, Intuit, VeriFone and Square — are creating innovative ways for individuals to avoid cash and checks and settle all debts, public and private, using their cellphones.

Read article

1 April 2010

Jan Chipchase (Nokia) guest blogging for CGAP

Ahmedabad
The title might be a bit cryptic for some readers, but Jan Chipchase is a well-known user researcher/anthropologist at Nokia. He spent a decade exploring the intersection of technology, people and culture for Nokia, and specializes in turning insights into opportunities.

CGAP is an independent policy and research center dedicated to advancing financial access for the world’s poor, housed at the World Bank.

His first post, which obviously deals with the topic of mobile banking in emerging markets, is just an introduction, but we will surely follow his contributions.

19 February 2010

Who needs banks if you have a mobile phone?

Mobile money
Cellphone-based money transfer is transforming the prospects of people who live without bank accounts or ATMs – and they don’t need a smartphone. The New Scientist reports.

“It works like this: you pay cash to your local agent – often at the nearest corner shop, if you live in a city – who then tops up your mobile money account using a secure form of SMS text messaging. That money can be transferred to another person by sending an SMS to their cellphone account. People without mobile money accounts can receive payments in the form of a text code which can be forwarded to their local agent, who exchanges it for cash.

The system relies on what is known as the unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) system that is built into the GSM cellphone network. It is USSD that allows pay-as-you-go customers to find out their credit balance, for example.”

Read full story

14 February 2010

Scenarios for branchless banking in 2020

cgap
The growing use of branchless banking channels over the coming years is inevitable in most countries. But it’s far less certain whether large numbers of the unbanked poor will use these alternative channels for financial services beyond payments, such as savings and credit.

The World Bank’s CGAP and DFID, the UK Department for International Development, undertook a six-month scenario-building project in which almost 200 experts from more than 30 countries helped answer the question “How can government and private sector most affect the uptake and usage of branchless banking among the unserved majority by 2020?”

CGAP/DFID identified identified four forces most likely to shape the answers:
• The changing demographics of users
• The actions of increasingly activist governments
• Rising crime
• The spread of Internet access via data-enabled phones even in poor countries and communities

They also isolated four key uncertainties with important effects but uncertain outcomes:
• Which types of entities will be allowed to provide branchless financial services?
• Will providers craft viable business models for services beyond payments?
• How will competition play out?
• How will consumer, business, and regulator confidence be affected by the inevitable failures that will happen?

The work culminated in the CGAP/DFID Branchless Banking Scenarios 2020 Focus Note, that presents four scenarios that interweave these forces and uncertainties in different settings to produce very different trajectories over the next 10 years.

A video discussion with the authors and some of the leaders in mobile and branchless banking was held in Washington, DC in December 2009; you can watch the archived video here.