Written by Daniel Latto in Latest News

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Banks are in a second, or perhaps third, generation of mobile banking.

First efforts added mobile access to existing online banking, but that meant banks were not going to attract the mobile-only user, and they were missing some of the advanced capabilities of mobile, such as remote check deposit and using QR or visible   bar codes.

“While most banks have developed a mobile banking offering that allows customer to access their account information, few banks have started to consider how to use mobile to support other activities such as marketing, account opening, application processing, and onboarding,” Tiffani Montez and Peter Wannemacher wrote in a recent Forrester report.

For example, Monitise and U.S. Bank are working on a way to link ads in print, or on TV or radio, directly to the product advertized on a company Web site. With a customer’s account information and address stored in a mobile wallet controlled by Montise, a woman browsing through Vogue, for example, could point her phone at the image of an outfit from J. Crew and go directly to that ensemble on the company’s Web page. Then all she has to do is select size and color, confirm the shipping and the price, and she’s done.

In print, the phone would work from a 2D barcode, like the familiar QR code, or an invisible digital watermark.

English: qrcode for http://en.m.wikipedia.org QR Code

For a product advertised on TV or radio, the phone can pick up the audio to direct a shopper to the site. This should do wonders for already distracted drivers, although the U.S. Bank internal video shows the shopper sitting in the passenger side of the car.

“As long as the mobile device is able to hear the signal, it can pick up the watermark,” said Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer for U.S. Bank payment services “We are able to watermark all the way down to the region where the print publication happens or the show on which a commercial is aired, so it is enabling a radio ad in real time to become clickable.” A seller can know what station at what time turned into a purchase, or which publication led to a sale so advertising dollars can be directed for maximum impact.

Venturo expects that early users will be in fashion and consumer electronics.

“See it, click it, buy it and decide where you want it shipped,” he explained. “You don’t have to add address and payment information. Our whole job is to help make payments occur in a great way.”

You probably wouldn’t use it to buy a car but you could link to a test drive video, he added.

Banks and credit card companies are experimenting with ways to attract shoppers to use payment methods that create useful information for merchants and the financial institution.

Venturo said U.S. Bank has a program that makes offers to cardholders, such as $10 to use at a specific merchant. The cardholder can spend exactly $10, but the merchant is hoping, and betting, that the average shopper will find a few other items and spend more. That program is not yet in U.S. Bank’s mobile offering.

The bank worked with Monitise in 2009 on a prepaid mobile app which let users check balances and review their transaction histories — revolutionary at the time, Venturo said.

“Now years later we are working with them on a completely different topic. They have done interesting work on m-commerce in the UK which is directly relevant to the projects we are working on here,” he added. “Our mission is to continuously innovate where payments occur and commerce happens, and a lot of that has been in the mobile space. Over the last year we have been working on a number of things like voice controlled mobile banking apps to check balances or to make a payment.”

The bank offers near field communication — NFC –  payments on an iPhone, even though Apple Apple has chosen not to include that technology in its offering. U.S. Bank has a case that snaps onto the phone and includes an NFC chip from Device Fidelity, which is available through the bank’s Web site.

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