First, let me warn anyone who is still reading my techno rants and raves, that I am not a fan of mobile banking. The reason is simple. There are 14 better ways for a commercial or retail customer to handle banking chores. And I believe there are still wonderful activities in life that one can enjoy without being wired to a bank.Banking has always been a background thing for me, doing its thing while I'm doing my things, like the posting and updating run while I'm snoozing. Here are the 14 ways that take care of my banking:
1. The check - declining in numbers for good reasons, but still essential.
2. Credit Card - can't live without it.
3. Debit Card - can live without it, but a good alternative to writing a check while several people are waiting behind you.
4. ATM - The last time I heard anyone say this at work was 1971 - "Quick, I've got to get to the bank before it closes."
5. ATM-plus - Extra services are OK if they are simple like buying postage stamps. Buying stocks and applying for loans are good for only one segment of society - the homeless.
6. Telephone Banking (VRU) - Better than sliced bread yet some banks are still using a knife. It's easy, ubiquitous and non intrusive.
7. Call Center - A win-win-win (customer, bank, customer service rep).
8. Bank-By-Mail - On occasion, it's perfectly all right. Drop it into a blue box (or red depending on country) and it will get there in a few days. Some transactions don't require real-time.
9. Internet Banking - Still needs some refinement, better navigation, human engineering, less selling and more safety, but it will prevail.
10. Employees at a Branch - I didn't say just "branch" because some branches are like monuments and tombs - dormant. It's the employees who serve customers that are the real assets, even if they are in a tent. The strange part is that these buildings were going to go the way of the "checkless" and "cashless" society predictions of the sixties. Instead, there are more branches than ever. And may I add here, without bias, that Wachovia seems to have hired the right architects to maintain the beauty of Dallas. There was an old Texaco gas station in Snyder Plaza that is now a Wachovia branch. I missed the gas station, but I have the memory. It still looks like a gas station without the dirt and grease. We can have too many branches, but we can always use more beauty.
11. Night Depository - Maybe it won't last now with Remote Merchant Capture, but for the occasional user, it's a low-tech option that works.
12. Remote Merchant Capture - The shortest distance between a business and its bank is a data link. Safe, quick, accurate, at-your-convenience, and economical. Au revoir M. Courier!
13. E-Anything - The stats show that electronic financial transactions are gaining in popularity. Why it isn't pervasive is still a bit of a mystery. For example, I have business dealings with a dozen companies in the bank tech business. Only two make their payments electronically.
14. Fax - Maybe it's a legal thing. There's one service that I use among the 13 accounts I have at the second largest bank in the U.S. that requires fax communications. As long as it works, I'll continue to use it, even though I have to push the cobwebs off the machine to get started.
As for mobile banking, I've got better things to do while on foot.
- Art Gillis www.artgillis.com