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Small banks outpacing their larger counterparts in mobile payments

April 5, 2010

OmarSmaller financial institutions and their retail and business customers are currently the only ones that are successfully adopting mobile payment technology, according to Bling Nation.

Mobile Commerce Daily’s Dan Butcher interviewed Meyer Malka, founder and co-CEO of Bling Nation regarding the state of mobile payments. Here is what he said.

Which community and regional banks have successfully adopted mobile payment technology?
Those who are dedicated to servicing their communities, customers and businesses.

Within the past year, a number of innovative community and regional financial institutions throughout the United States have successfully adopted mobile payment technology.

It enables them to provide customers with the ability to tap their mobile phones to pay at the point of sale, redeem loyalty incentives and receive real-time transaction and account balance information text messages.

Such institutions also provide their business customers with point-of-sale terminals that enable them to accept mobile payments from customers, cut interchange fees in half and offer bank-funded loyalty incentives.

These communities and banks come from diverse areas across the U.S. from places like La Junta, Colorado to Saratoga Springs, New York.

Essentially, mobile payment technology has a significant appeal to community and regional financial institutions that are committed to promoting the vitality of their local communities and ongoing innovation. 

Why are smaller banks outpacing their larger counterparts in this area? Smaller financial institutions and their retail and business customers are currently the only ones that are successfully adopting mobile payment technology.

This can be attributed to the deep connections they have with their local communities since mobile payments bolster relationships by offering customers a cool way to quickly, securely and conveniently make purchases while providing local businesses with loyalty incentive options afforded by mobile payments that help to attract and reward customers that shop locally.

Adoption by community and regional financial institutions is also influenced by their versatility relative to large national institutions when it comes to decision making and implementing new technologies.
What are the most popular mobile financial services currently, and which have the most potential for growth going forward?

Many different types of mobile payment technologies have been developed and promoted throughout the years, focusing  primarily on providing users access to their bank accounts via the phone, ie. “mobile banking” or for on online purchases.

However, until now, none of them have been successfully adopted at the point of sales for everyday purchases.

While the technology may have offered some convenience for consumers, it did not present any of the significant benefits provided by mobile payment technology that is being adopted today.

These benefits include increased security, reduced processing fees, loyalty incentive capabilities and encouraged local spending that appeal to businesses, financial institutions and consumers alike. We’ll continue to see rapid adoption of mobile payment technology in communities that find these benefits of great value to their customers.

What are the various mobile payment mechanisms, and which do you feel will have the most traction going forward?

A variety of mobile payments and mobile banking services often get lumped into the same basket. However, their use and benefits are widely different. Mobile banking consists of applications that allow customers to access their accounts to pay bills and transfer funds.

Mobile payments, on the other hand, are even broader in scope since they can include anything from purchasing a ringtone, or online game, to donating funds to Haiti. 

However, only Bling Nations’s service allows users to actually use their phone to  tap and pay at the point of sale. 

We believe this type of mobile service is going to experience the most traction because it is truly convenient and faster than current methods of payment. 

Bling Nation’s mobile payment service is also “habituating” consumers to the new behavior required so they can take advantage of the same NFC technology that is shortly going to be built into phones while promoting deep community ties by giving a way of implementing and measuring “shop local” programs.

Please provide a Bling Nation client list. What challenges does Bling Nation address for them?

The following community banks are among the innovative financial institutions that are leveraging mobile payment technology to differentiate their services while enhancing business and retail customer relationships, improving profitability, enhancing security and customizing risk, all the while keeping funds within the community:

  • The State Bank (Brad Rose, VP) La Junta, Colorado
  • Park State Bank & Trust (Tony Perry, president), Woodland Park, Colorado
  • Adirondack Trust Co. (Charles Wait, president and CEO). Saratoga Springs, NY

In addition to consumers, you are more than welcome to speak with the following businesses that are using Bling Nation as well:

  • The Fortunate Cup, Saratoga Springs, NY, Doreen Kamen
  • Wallace Oil Co., La Junta, Colo., Rachel Wallace
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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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