Watching the Needle Move on Mobile vs. Mag StripeTheodore Iacobuzio |
Looks like the change in form factor from plastic to digital via smart phone is getting the attention of the larger public. Both Forbes.com and the HuffingtonPost are blogging away on the substitution of mobile for mag stripe.
The most interesting paragraph in these posts is one from Tim Chen, in which he says, in part, “if we could see our bank accounts diminish as we make a purchase, or watch our debt grow, we might regain the visceral feeling of spending what we earn.”
With respect, U.S. consumers are way ahead of the NerdWallet CEO. It’s not so much the coolness of mobile payments that’s going to convince U.S. cardholders to move to the new form factor; it’s how smart phones satisfy the desire to better control finances, partly by more closely managing purchases and payments.
The same week Chen posted on Huffington, Santander relaunched its website globally, giving enhanced access to its customers. “Consumers can see their total financial picture, including mortgage, credit cards, and accounts,” Matthew Timms, Santander’s electronic commerce director toldBank Technology News.
While Santander is one of a very select group of institutions that can initiate such changes globally, U.S. banks of every size should sit up and take notice. These advances in technology are not about gee-whiz; they’re about banks’ prospering in an environment that has changed substantially and irrevocably.
It bears repeating. The U.S. consumer had the living daylights scared out of him three years ago next September 15, and continues to modify spending and saving behavior based on that experience.
More and more U.S. cardholders are regarding their payment card relationships as part of a larger banking picture that keeps them apprised—at the end of the day, the end of the month, the end of the pay period—of what, in business parlance, their position is. Enhanced web functionality and a form factor that delivers information to the cardholder as well as to the merchant—mobile payments—is the way forward for U.S. issuers.
Mobile could also encourage multiple relationships with the same institution plays into the profitability model that regards levels of deposit as the key revenue driver; this can only be an added benefit—for both issuers and consumers.
Topics: Payments Strategy