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Banking on a midsize screen E-mail

The ins and outs of banking on tablets
By John Ginovsky

Kony Solutions recently issued version 2.0 of its mobile retail banking application, which it says offers immediate access to such features as payment approvals, mobile check deposits, and full account management capabilities.

One of its distinguishing features, according to David Eads, vice president and general manager, is its ability to support new phones, tablets, and browsers as these are introduced. “Financial institutions must deliver the latest mobile banking services on the devices and browsers their customers use, while staying ahead of the technology curve,” Eads says.

Kony claims its products can be delivered in native and mobile web modes across more than 9,000 devices, seven operating systems, and such deployment models as social media, text messaging, kiosks, desktops, and tablet applications.

ABA Banking Journal Tech Topics talks with Eads about how mobile banking is viewed and used differently depending on the type of device a given customer prefers, particularly tablets. Eads also talks about mobile banking security in general, as well as the growing interest in mobile banking shown by community banks.
Tech Topics: The new devices that are coming out, namely tablets or iPads, how are they changing the mobile banking scene? How are they different from smartphones, PCs, or laptops in terms of online banking?
David Eads: We’re seeing a lot of interest in tablets. [Our recent release] is about retail banking. We’re also developing applications for other lines of business...including private banking, wealth management, and even for folks to use in the branches, whether it’s for personal bankers or whatever.

While the iPad has a huge amount of market share right now, I suspect, given the number of devices that are coming out, innovations are going to continue until a couple of [brands] probably come up with products that are loved just as much as the iPad. Personally I feel like the Kindle Fire is one of those products.
Tech Topics: Are tablets seen simply as small laptops, or are they something completely different?
Eads: It’s something completely different. We see that the behavior on the tablet is different than it is on the desktop and different in behavior than on smartphones. Tablets are very good at consuming information. They are not very good at entering information.

To make use of an application the iPad is very useful. High resolution screen. About the same size and weight as a book. It’s interactive. You can touch it. It is very good at that. People tend to have very long sessions on the tablet because it is such a comfortable device, as opposed to using a computer, which feels a lot like going to work, or a smartphone, which just doesn’t have the size to be able to do it optimally. It all varies with the application and the person, but those are the general trends we see.
Tech Topics: For banking purposes, you say it is interactive, so you can enter commands. But you wouldn’t want to just type in a whole check file.

Eads: At the end of the day, consumers want to use tablets and bankers are finding far more use cases for tablets. We’re the only vendor that offers a service level agreement so you are covered when new devices and foreign factors or whatever come up. We’re going to support that product.
Tech Topics: How about security? How is this all protected?

Eads: We have a lot of experience in the mobile banking space. We’ve been through the wringer on security and we think we have the best security in the industry. Everything is encrypted…from the native applications back to the server. We do multifactor authentication [including] out-of-band authentication on first use, to tie the phone to the actual user and limit the number of devices that they connect from to make sure it’s a known device. That actually makes it more secure in many ways than the online experience, because you are tying it to that particular phone which is with the person all the time.
Tech Topics: How applicable is all this to community banks and regional banks?

Eads: We really only [recently] started looking at smaller institutions, community banks and credit unions, but we are seeing a large amount of interest from the banks with about $1 billion in assets. That’s despite the fact that the solutions that they have, many of which are from their core and online banking providers, are very inexpensive. But they are finding the core and online banking vendors aren’t keeping up with new features [as they come out.] They aren’t able to differentiate themselves at a very basic level from the brand across the street. The consensus is that mobile is the face of the bank to the consumer. That experience has to be right.
About the Author
John Ginovsky is contributing editor of ABA Banking Journal and editor of the publication’s TechTopics e-newsletter. For more than two decades he has written about the commercial banking industry. In particular, he’s specialized in the technological side of banking and how it relates to the actual business of banking. He previously was senior editor for Community Banker magazine (which merged with ABA Banking Journal) and was a staff writer for ABA’s Bankers News. 


[This article was posted on February 28, 2012, on the website of ABA Banking Journal, www.ababj.com.] 
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