I think a banking tech revolution is just minutes away. When was the last time you went to your bank? I honestly can’t remember when I was last inside mine. Let me give you an example of how digital banking has changed my life.
- Monday – As a board member for a non-profit, I accepted payment via the Square app on my iPhone for non prepaid attendees.
- Tuesday – Client wrote me a physical check. I deposited via my mobile Chase app on my iPad.
- Wednesday – 6:30am Created invoice and billed client in Japan via Paypal. 6:35am Payment received. (accurate time depiction)
- Thursday – Deposited cash into my drive through ATM.
- Friday – Accepted payment via Payvment on my Facebook page.
I am banking with Chase only because they took over my bank when it failed. You know why I am staying with them? Their mobile app that allows me to deposit checks. If any of my local banks invests in their own mobile app (that deposits checks!), I’d move over in a heartbeat. *UPDATE 7/4/11 I was asked by Summit State Bank to be the face of their campaign for the ezDeposit application for smartphones. So happy to have a local bank in on the way things are working today!
I absolutely love the concept of the drive through ATM, not the ones with the pneumatic tubes but the regular ATM machine, especially after having a child. If I don’t have to lug my baby into the bank to deposit a single check, I’m a happy camper. By the way, babies act up more in banks than anywhere else on the planet. That’s the exact time that the line chooses NOT TO MOVE. Each waiting minute is like an hour. And now that these ATMs take cash, the only time I’ve found that I need to go into the bank is to deposit rolls of change and that’s a rarity. I could use Coinstar at my local grocery store but I’ll roll my own with my child’s help (math lesson!) and save 9.8%, thank you.
This leads me to the fact that branches are closing. Recession, foreclosure blowout, and automation are all factors in this. The revolution comes into play because the branches that are being closed are largely in low income neighborhoods. I hope that the powers that be will pay attention to this trend and not allow these neighborhoods to be taken over by predatory lenders.
I started using Paypal when I was actively reselling items for my clients on eBay (eBay purchased Paypal in 2002). Paypal is an international digital bank that allows you to send and receive payments without actually having to handle any credit card or check information. Nice and private. I’ve heard that there can be huge issues if they decide to freeze your account. Those problems seem to center largely around accounts with questionable non-profit status. This hasn’t happened to anyone I know (knock on wood) but it is a real issue. I used Paypal as an eBay buyer and seller, their shopping carts on my original website as well as on a website I manage for a non-profit board with occasional functional problems, and use them less now but have had no problems with their products. I even have a Paypal debit card that I earn cash back on when signing for my purchases.
When I heard about Square, I knew this was the one for me. It is a credit card processing application from the former CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey. It’s a credit card swiper (called a dongle) that’s free and plugs into the standard headphone jack of an iPhone, iPad or Android device. The app to use the dongle is free as well. They just changed the way they process transactions, nixing the per transaction flat fee and just charging 2.75%. There is no monthly fee. They are now processing $1M per day. That’s right, per day.
I know. You are saying that you have a great credit card merchant account that you love. Well, I looked for years and simply wasn’t happy with what was out there. I didn’t like monthly fees or large equipment I needed to lease or buy and had to lug around with me. Square isn’t perfect but in combination with my Chase app and Paypal, I feel like I have all my bases covered. Jack even tweeted a picture of a cab he rode in that used an iPad (with Google Maps as his GPS) and a Square as it’s “cash register”. Brilliant. I’m hearing more and more about retailers that are using this as their main payment device. Imagine event sales, beer hawkers at sporting events, street vendors and artists not having to be technologically advanced to make more money accepting credit cards. It truly is a tech revolution.
I spend much of my working and personal time interacting with Facebook. I train individuals and businesses to use and maximize this tool (amongst others). Recently I was contracted by a musician to work on all his social media channels. When I wanted to find a good ecommerce solution for him, I was sorely disappointed. Not to say there aren’t options out there but none of them were easy to install, use, and convenient for this, the largest of platforms. I visited Facebook pages and stand alone websites for major artists and I was just disappointed. Needless to say, I did find a decent shopping cart function in Payvment. There are several others but this one was easily installed on my Facebook page and hooks up to my Paypal account. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work well for musicians as there isn’t a listening function.
Next is NFC or Near Field Communications. It turns your mobile devices into methods of payment. There are rumors that the next iPhone will be equipped with NFC. Even I’m not ready for that one. By the way, Starbucks is already using very similar technology.
I am not in financial services or banking. I don’t pretend to know anything about this field. What I do know as a person that loves and works with technology, that my favorite gadgets are serving a real purpose and disrupting the old guard. Are you using any of these devices to enhance your banking experience? Are there any I should know about that are ushering in the tech revolution?