PayPal Launches ‘Here’ and What Walmart May Bring to Banking [TWIEB #11]

This Week in Engagement Banking, PayPal launches PayPal Here, a competitor to Square and you get to see how it works. Wonder what startups (and financials) can learn from an Apple design guru? Read below. This week we also link to a report from the US Federal Reserve Board with some interesting insight into mobile banking usage numbers and preferences. The Financial Brand brings us a peek inside Fidelity Bank to see how it approaches social media and, finally, it appears banking competition even extends to Walmart in this customer-data-collection-based world.

PayPal Launches PayPal Here, A Competitor To Square
Today, Paypal announced PayPal Here
, a triangle-shaped mobile creditcard-swiping gadget aimed directly at Jack Dorsey’s reader, Square. And, just like Square, they’re aiming to convert customers with the power of their design: They tapped Fuseproject, the firm run by Yves Behar and a darling among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, to create the object. Obviously, the $4 billion in transactions being done every year on Square were an enticing market for PayPal. But PayPal is also trying migrate into offline, physical transactions. “We’re actually going after offline business in a serious way,” says David Marcus, VP of mobile at PayPal.

US Federal Reserve Board: Mobile Banking Increases among Blacks and Hispanics
One out of five
American consumers used their mobile phone to access their bank account, credit card, or other financial account in the 12 months ending in January 2012 and an additional one out of five indicated they would likely use mobile banking at some point in the future, according to a Federal Reserve Board survey. The survey’s findings suggest that the use of mobile banking is poised to expand further over the next year, with usage possibly increasing to one out of three mobile phone users by 2013. However, the survey indicates that many consumers remain skeptical of the benefit of mobile banking and the level of security associated with the technology.

7 Lessons Startups Can Learn from Apple Design Guru
An interview with Sir Jonathan Ive, the man behind the iconic, industry-changing innovations at Apple, where he shares his thoughts on design matters with Mark Prigg of Evening Standard. The marvelous interview is sprinkled with useful lessons, which tech startups can adopt and adapt in their operating environments.

Peek Inside: Fidelity Bank’s In-House Marketing Dept.
We started exploring the use of social media in early 2010
and began with a Facebook and Twitter account. Later in the year, we began posting our television commercials to YouTube. Our social media strategy is based on “conversing” with our customers. It is an extension of our public relations policy: to make friends and build Fidelity Bank’s persona as a bank to do business with. We plan out weekly “discussion” points as a start and try to keep and maintain a conversation. It is also used to invite people to events we are holding, publicize product specials, etc.Our Marketing Communications Officer spends about eight hours a week on social media. We check it first thing in the morning and then again later in the afternoon. With a small staff it is impossible to have one person dedicated to this.

Rethinking the Biggest Threat to Banks
At the BAI Payments Connect Conference
in Las Vegas, there has been plenty of discussion around how third-party technology vendors could disintermediate banks, especially in the area of mobile payments. But today, a panelist at a session on mobile cash access said that people aren’t talking enough about what she perceives to be the biggest threat to banks: Wal-Mart. “The most disruptive force and biggest threat to banks today is Wal-Mart,” said Donna Embry, senior vice president of strategic development at Payment Alliance International, during the session. She continued, “They know their consumer — everything about that consumer and what the consumer’s preferences are.”

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