Bank On It
Innovative platforms make money management less of a drag
Tech / 30 Nov 2011
Now’s not the best time to be a bank. The showy trader lifestyle has lost its sheen, the divestment movement is flourishing, and Bank of America was cowed into submission by angry customers after attempting to institute a $5 fee for debit card purchases. In light of the tumult, new services are aiming to make personal banking less stressful—and, dare we say, enjoyable?—for the frazzled masses.
Simple: As its name suggests, this platform simplifies the user experience by stripping mobile banking of its clumsiness—a corporate mission inspired by CEO Josh Reich’s own personal banking nightmare. Those who acquire an invite to the pre-launch app can expect a clean interface, jargon-free language, and many useful features. Real-time transaction tracking prevents accidental overdrafts, a prominent Safe-to-Spend balance provides a trustworthy accounting of available funds, and automatic geo-location (more often put to social use) helps users identify points of purchase. Not its own bank, Simple will rely on bank partners to hold clients’ cash, but the platform will provide a strong foundation for its users’ financial lives.
Kinect Banking: Somewhat less simple than, well, Simple is software firm Etronika’s new Kinect-enabled banking interface. After Microsoft made its Kinect software development kit available to the public—a nod to the many ingenious hacks that came to light after Kinect’s release—Etronika used it to transform the dull, depressing practice of money management into something fun. The resulting motion-activated interface responds to users’ waves and claps to manage accounts and select functions. There still may be a few logistical difficulties (in this video demo, a dog controls the interface with its tail—not ideal), but a kink-free version could ultimately free users from the financial doldrums.
Kaching: With the rise of near-field communication (NFC) technology, mobile payment platforms are evolving from novelty into necessity. To demonstrate its dedication to mobile banking and Gen Ys’ on-the-go sensibility, Commonwealth Bank of Australia is set to release a branded, iOS-only, NFC payment app, called Kaching. The app will allow iPhone users to transfer money to friends via mobile device, Facebook, or email, and pay for goods at any location where PayPass is accepted. To combat a lack of universal NFC capability, Commonwealth plans to release an NFC-enabled phone case (price to be determined). Interested iPhone owners can register here to be notified when the app and case become available.
©The Intelligence Group