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BMW’s Mini Financial Services enables payments via mobile Web

February 1, 2011

BMW and its Mini Financial Services turn to the mobile Web for convenience's sake

BMW’s Mini Financial Services has launched a mobile Web site that lets smartphone users process payments and common account requests using their handsets.

Developed internally, the Mini Financial Services mobile Web site runs in a browser, whereas typical applications need to be installed to run on a mobile device. After a secure log-in from a smartphone, customers will have access to the six most common features: make a payment, recent activity, statements, payoff quote, payment history and account summary.

“In terms of our strategy behind the launch of the mobile site, I can boil it down to one word: convenience—it is all about giving more options to our customers,” said Tom Stepanchak, general marketing manager for BMW Group Financial Services, Woodcliff Lake, NJ. “2013 is the tipping point where more consumers will use smartphones to access their Internet than PCs.

“Fifteen years ago before the Internet was anything, people had to write checks and send them to us, then people could pay online, and this is another step in that evolution,” he said. “We knew that we had to provide this mobile functionality.

“We know it is only a matter of time before our customers expect this type of functionality on their smartphones.”

BMW Group Financial Services is a captive finance unit that supports the sales and marketing efforts of BMW of North America.

In 2001, the Mini Financial Services division was established to provide support for the brand’s dealer and customer networks by offering various financing and leasing options.

Mobile financial services
As mobile phones begin to overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide, BMW and its subsidiary Mini realized that they had to ramp up their mobile offerings.

Mini Mobile’s development cycle spanned nearly a full year from concept to its nationwide launch. The site runs is optimized for multiple platforms, including Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, as well as Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Torch.

Once the initial set-up process, including login/profile, has been created by the customer through a personal computer, the Web-based program can be used through any of those smartphones.

BMW Group Financial Services plans to launch similar mobile functionality for BMW Financial Services later in the year, most likely in the third quarter. 

“All of our customers’ banking information is present there on the mobile Web site, so imagine you’re on vacation, you’re on the beach and you realize, oh my goodness, I forgot to pay my bill this month,” Mr. Stepanchak said. “You can log in using your smartphone and pay your bill without leaving the beach.

“We are speaking directly to our Mini Financial Services customers, with no media campaign, because we know exactly who our target audience is,” he said. “We will use all of the existing channels that we have, such as inserts, email and Web sites.

“The site will recognize if you’re trying to access it via a smartphone, and it will reroute you to the page that is optimized for your device.”

Final Take
Mini Liquid Assets for iPhone

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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