Last week saw two mobile services launched on the same day in the UK. The first was HSBC’s new Fast Balance mobile banking offering. Secondly Barclays Pingit was re-launched to allow customers from all banks to use the service. Whilst these two are both retail banking apps, they serve to highlight the huge differences in strategies being deployed at present.
HSBC’s Fast Balance demonstrates a bank placing paramount importance on security. Customers are required to register for the app which allows them to see their balance and last 6 transactions. Given that many banks around the world provide customers their balance without logging in, this is certainly a cautious approach but one which will be appreciated by consumers who have begun to realise the potential security pitfalls of smartphone devices. HSBC’s mobile approach is consistent with their desktop banking offering which recently introduced a new 2FA device.
At the other end of the spectrum, Barclays are looking to be the innovators in the mobile payments space. With the new version of Pingit, customers of any bank can register to send money via the Pingit app. Barclays are one of the first banks to use mobile payments to provide the wider community with utility, not just their own customers. Pingit poses interesting questions about the future place of mobile payments in relation to mobile banking. Many, including modern banking guru Brett King, argue that consumers will not want their mobile banking service fragmented into banking and payments, instead favouring an integrated end-to-end solution. But for the time being innovations in the mobile payments space seem to be separate from mobile banking.