Take control of your finances
More banks add PFM tools to their account offerings
This month saw the recent update to our International Internet Banking Dashboard. This revealed a number of interesting changes made by different European providers. Most striking were the recent developments in personal finance management. This was accompanied by a continued growth in mobile payment processes.
Personal finance management (PFM) has increasingly gained importance within the financial service industry. It enables retail banks to understand customer behaviour and allows customers to take control of their finances. More specifically, PFM helps customers get a deeper understanding of their financial status. Banks are becoming more and more aware of meeting these needs. Three recent PFM developments by different European providers demonstrate the increased attention given to PFM. Firstly, Skandia bank & försäkring in Sweden have partnered up with Meniga in launching a PFM tool. This has been launched in Beta version in order for customers to provide feedback. The tool categorises expenses over different time periods. It also provides customers with multiple visual reports and personalized budgets based on past spending behaviour.
LloydsTSB in the UK have added two new features to their online PFM tool called Money Manager. Online banking users can now create a savings goal and spending plan. As a result, customers can now closely track their monthly spending and create budgets to effectively allocate their income to achieve particular goals. BNP Paribas in France have relaunched their Mobile banking app ‘Mes Comptes’. The app now features a number of PFM tools with a similar look and feel to their online PFM tool. Smartphone users can now view different graphical representations of their income and outgoings and can even categorise their spending within the mobile app.
Over the last 6 months, Mapa has seen various European and International financial providers developing or upgrading their online or mobile PFM tools. Sweden, the UK and France are just a few countries where PFM developments have been recorded. Other countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium and the USA also have a proliferation of tools available. Screenshots and commentary of the best of these can all be found in Mapa’s PFM Report Series (Edition 2 due in May 2012).
The update also highlighted developments around the continued growth of mobile payment processes. Citibank USA have added the ability to deposit checks with camera function to their mobile banking app. Similarly La Caixa in Spain has also included a new service allowing customers to deposit cheques via the camera function on their phone. Skandia bank & försäkring in Sweden now enable smartphone users to pay bills to new and existing payees with an option to use camera functionality to scan the paper bills.
Both Citibank and La Caixa have also devoted more attention to alternative mobile payment processes. For example Citibank now enable smartphone users to make payments to mobile numbers and email address via ‘Pop Money’. La Caixa on the other hand launched CaixaWallet which is a payment system for online purchases. The CaixaWallet can be accessed within mobile banking. La Caixa is the first Spanish bank to create a digital wallet service.
As the quarterly International Internet Banking report indicates, mobile and online banking channels have benefited from continued investment. Banks are increasingly improving these channels by simplifying mobile payments and allowing customers to better manage their finances online.