Sunday, 26 February 2012

Movenbank - the future of banking?

Knowing your customer is at the heart of banking. It informs the offers and decisions a bank makes to its customers, from account types to credit decisions. Many years ago, knowing your customer meant building a personal relationship with the customer and empowering bank managers to make personal decisions based on their knowledge of a customer. Now credit decisions often seem like a 'black art' to the consumer. Data from credit reference agencies is used to create an automated decision that can often seem arbitrary to consumers because they can't relate it to their 'real world' circumstances. Where's the relationship and the transparency?

But what if a bank's decisions were based on more than this? What if they took account of you as a person and who you engage with; not just what your credit score is? As part of creating a more transparent relationship with customers, Movenbank has developed CRED to measure a consumer's credibility as both a customer and a friend. We live much of our lives online today and this public engagement helps define who we are. As well as allowing Movenbank to better understand its customers, CRED will give consumers more context around the issues that affect them, like credit decisions.

Getting more from your money begins with understanding how you relate to money and Movenbank's first service is a financial personality test. We've all done tests like this over the years but as Movenbank moves towards full launch this data will become the first piece of the jigsaw that defines you as a customer.

What else will define Movenbank? No branches, cards, paper - all legacy bits of banking that few people need or want these days. The mobile phone will sit at the heart of the customer relationship giving the customer access to all their account functionality, including in-store as well as online payments. Imagine paying in a shop and being able to see how much money you have in your account before and after you pay. Imagine paying for a holiday and being offered foreign currency and travel insurance as relevant financial services that you can purchase from your handset. Banking becomes contextual and convenient.

This might sound like an alien future to some people but the way we engage with banks and payments is conditioned by their legacy views and not our convenience. To quote Brett King, the Founder of Movenbank, "Banking is now something you do, not somewhere you go".

You can request an invitation to check out your financial personality here. I'm a Professor!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Rogers One Number - transforming mobile comms

When I looked at the Rogers One Number service I thought why don't we have this in the UK. It's the first new service from a mobile operator I've seen in a long time that would make a significant difference to my mobile usage.

One Number lets you use all your mobile services - voice, text, MMS - from your PC or Mac using your mobile number. Video chat is also available if both parties are signed up to One Number. The contact list on your phone and PC is automatically synched. One Number recognises that consumers want the convenience of a single point of connectivity with the convenience of multiple devices.

One Number
The coolest feature is switch call. This lets you switch a call from your PC to your mobile phone or vice versa mid call. So you're chatting on your mobile when you walk in the door; just switch the call to your PC for a more relaxed chat. You only pay for the mobile portion of the call and the other party is none the wiser!

You can also call any Canadian number using your computer from anywhere in the world for free - brilliant if you're away on business or holiday.

So how did Rogers launch One Number? They worked with CounterPath who delivered a solution to Rogers that converges voice, video and text on a single number over multiple devices using their Softphone platform.

More info at


Maxroam has long been a favourite for global roaming, especially for avoiding outrageous data roaming bills from your home operator.

Today Maxroam has announced their MVNO agreement with Vodafone UK. This gives users similar rates to other UK operators when in the UK and Maxroam's competitive roaming rates when elsewhere. This is a great product for users who spend a lot of time in the UK as there's now no need to also have a local SIM card.

Maxroam SIMs are the usual mini SIM size but can easily be snapped into a micro SIM to be compatible with iPhones and iPads. Nice touch and very consumer centric.

According to the Maxroam website UK rates are:
  • Call UK number  -  13p per minute
  • Call rest of world  -  13p per minute
  • Send SMS to UK number  -  10p
  • Send SMS to rest of world  -  10p

Data is charged at:
  • 250MB - £5.02
  • 500B - £8.36
  • 1GB - £15.05

More information from Maxroam here.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

It's time for Apple to fix the iPhone WiFi login process

Every device has the odd feature that frustrates and for me it's WiFi on the iPhone. At home WiFi works fine after the initial setup to connect for the first time because no additional login credentials are needed. However using public WiFi hotspots is an annoying experience involving a trip to Safari each time to enter ID and password. 

My favourite public WiFi is The Cloud and I regularly use it in coffee shops. However because of the success of The Cloud in adding hotspots I often find when I'm out and about my iPhone has automatically connected to The Cloud and because I haven't entered my ID and password the iPhone can't make a data connection. I then have to either stop and login or turn off WiFi - neither of which is satisfactory for a quick data connection. 

Apple needs to allow users to save their login credentials for recognised hotspots so the whole login process is automated and seamless. From a consumer experience perspective the existing process is very 'un-Apple'. 

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