This Week in Engagement Banking the tablet computer has entered branch banking. It won’t ever be the same again! And, Google’s +1 button has financials posturing already as they look to what will come in a post PageLink only online world. Also, Groupon is entering the Payments space? You saw it here.
In the Branch, Tablets Mean Money
It has the makings of a bad joke. A small business owner walks into a bank branch and asks for a new checking account. But instead of a stack of paper, a teller pulls out a tablet. It could be an Apple (AAPL) iPad. It might be a Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) Slate. It definitely has a touch screen. The teller shows the customer several screens. The first is filled with information about business credit cards. The second is brimming with videos. The third outlines the bank’s checking options. In the meantime that business owner, already an existing customer, can update her information without signing online — perhaps even set up her bill payments. That’s the promise of the tablet. It incorporates electronic signatures. It’s interactive. It’s even paperless. “To be able to do all of that without the paper, if the customer prefers it… there is your cost savings right there,” says Nicole Sturgill, a research director in the retail banking and cards practice at CEB TowerGroup, at the company’s annual conference in Boston. “This is a good reason to transform your branch workflow. It’s a great time.” More . . .
In Google Search, +1 Button Will Matter More Than PageRank – Eventually
Will PageRank, a link analysis algorithm used by Google, take a backseat to consumers clicking on +1 buttons to order how banks appear in Google results? One financial services SEO expert argued “Yes” during this week’s NetFinance conference and spoke to how the eventual algorithm change by the search engine giant would matter greatly to financial marketers’ strategies in staying on top of Google search results. “We need to think about how to get more +1s,” said Louis Cohen, SVP of search and affiliate marketing at Citi, during a presentation. Indeed, Cohen maintained that Google will eventually make +1s more important than PageLink in its algorithm because Google does not own the patent to PageLinks — Standford University does. In turn, scoring +1s will influence the order in which a company’s links show up in Google search results. One wrinkle in FIs fostering more +1 clicks is that “consumers haven’t adopted Google+ for social networking,” Cohen said. As such, Cohen said Citi has yet to put promotions of Google+ in place, but is thinking of ways it should and will do this. More . . .
Javelin Strategy Blog
PayPal’s Feverish Sprint into Offline Payments
PayPal’s making major progress in growing its offline retail presence. At the time of our last blog on PayPal’s offline push, the company had just integrated its payment service into 51 Bay Area Home depot locations. In the two months afterward, the payments innovator transitioned its pilot program to include nearly 2,000 Home Depot locations. Only two months ago, the company announced PayPal Here, a global mobile payment service aimed to allow small businesses to accept a variety of payment methods. In a major press release today, PayPal announced a “who’s who” of retailers soon to be accepting PayPal at their existing POS terminals: Abercrombie & Fitch, Advance Auto Parts, Aéropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Barnes & Noble, Foot Locker, Guitar Center, Jamba Juice, JC Penney, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Nine West, Office Depot, Rooms To Go, Tiger Direct and Toys “R” Us. Shoppers at these stores may soon be faced with the choice or cash, check or Paypal at the checkout. More . . .
Venture Beat guest writer Rocky Agrawal
Groupon is testing a payments offering to compete with Square and PayPal
Groupon is testing out an offering of its own in the increasingly crowded payments space, according to an email I was forwarded by a business that was solicited for the service. (Disclosure: I have various puts against Groupon.) The pricing is extremely aggressive, with a 1.8% transaction fee and a 15 cent per transaction charge for transactions processed through the terminal. Square charges 2.75% with no per transaction fee. PayPal Here and Verifone Sail charge 2.7%, also with no transaction fee. Groupon is charging 2.3% for AmEx transactions [update: a groupon insider tells me the AmEx pricing is 2.7, not 2.3]. Square and PayPal don’t charge extra, and Sail charges 3.7% for AmEx. Unlike the other players, Groupon is offering an iPod Touch and card reader to merchants free of charge. The email hints at a forthcoming point-of-sale system for iPod and iPad and says the terminal is already in use in several places in the Bay Area. Asked what he could tell me about the offering, Groupon spokesman Paul Taaffe replied. More . . .
BankNXT Blog Chris Skinner
The MultiBranded Bank
Having made the claim many times that banks are not great at multichannel but excel in a single channel, I got into an interesting debate last night with the CEO of one UK bank. He was asking whether branch-based banking had a future. I said branches have a limited future, with the megastore branch being the modus operandi and then automated satellite stations for transaction servicing. He disagreed and reckoned that the only need for branches today is purely down to our culture and background. That’s why boomers, Gen X and Gen Y like branches as they were raised with the idea that that’s where you went to do banking. Even then, most adults move towards self-service after age 35, and the branch is therefore only relevant for the 18 to 35 year old generation. With millennials growing up in a world of mobile internet, he believed that the next generation of customer would not understand why a branch was needed at all. Visionary? More . .
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