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Citibank bumps up mobile banking strategy with its top innovator

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December 8, 2014

Citi's Mobile Challenge

Citi’s Mobile Challenge

Citibank is advancing its mobile banking strategy through mobile engagement platform SpyderLynk, which was selected as a winner for the Citi Mobile Challenge 2014 and was deemed the Most Innovative Solution for Small Business for its concept CitiWallet for Small Business.

By being selected, SpyderLynk won a cash prize of $20,000 and will also have the opportunity to work with Citi for a chance to offer its SnapPay mobile wallet solution to Citi’s clients. SpyderLynk’s solution allows consumers to simply scan a SnapTag, enter the amount to pay the merchant and hit go.

“Mobile payments and mobile wallets are the natural evolution in the payments ecosystem,” said Nicole Skogg, CEO of SpyderLynk, Denver. “We already rely on our phones to wake us up, track our fitness, keep us informed on the news, and connect to our social lives.

“It’s absolutely going to happen that we will rely on our phones to pay people and stores,” she said. “However, in order for this evolution to really take hold and scale, it has to be simple for everyone involved.

Expanding the market
SpyderLynk’s SnapPay will offer multiple benefits to merchants and customers, such as a branded experience, thanks to the linkage with Citi, security and its rewards offerings. Citi working with SpyderLynk to explore bringing its solution to market for Citi clients globally.

While the solution is connected to a rewards platform, there is no POS hardware or software needed to use it. Customers also enjoy opportunities for repeat purchases.

To use SnapPay, customers scan the icon, also called a SnapTag, with their smartphone, enter the amount to be paid and then receive a confirmation notice. Merchants will be notified by a text message that they have been paid and can view reports of daily sales.

spyderlynk
SpyderLynk’s SnapPay

Promoting banking
Citibank’s virtual challenge was created for developers seeking to transform the banking landscape, and the financial services company partnered with Yellow Pepper, among others, which is a Latin American banking and mobile payment provider, to host it.

US
Participants at the U.S. Mobile Challenge

The Citi Mobile Challenge sought to accelerate digital banking innovation through connecting creative designers and developers, and offering them the opportunity to create new mobile applications for the bank’s digital banking platforms. The mobile challenge has already been introduced to Latin America, but 2014 will mark the inaugural U.S. branch of the event (see story).

The event was held on Nov. 10 in Silicon Valley, Nov. 12 in New York and Nov. 14 in Miami. The challenge called for participants to be given access to certain Citi APIs, which they then used to create various mobile applications or solutions designed to affect banking technology.

The challenge garnered participation from more than 3,000 developers across 740 teams from 62 countries in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In the U.S. challenge, more than 60 teams presented concepts to Citi executives and technology influences at three demo days held in November.

citi 400
Participants at Latin America’s Mobile Challenge

Before coming to the United States, the mobile challenge was introduced to Latin America, but 2014 marked the inaugural U.S. branch of the event.

Entrants’ submissions were evaluated on their impact, viability, user experience and functionality by the judges. The event was judged by a slew of top executives, including Mr. Elkiner and individuals from a variety of Citi divisions, including Digital Banking, Operations and Technology.

Citi awarded $20,000 to each of six solutions, including “Citi Wallet for Small Business” from Team Spydy, “Concierge app” from EPAM, “Mobile Withdrawal” from Centric-Consulting, “Piggi” from Critical Mass, “PopMoney on Android Wear” from Apptivation and “Swift Banking” from Dogtown Media.

“Mobile consumers are on the go and they won’t take the time if it is cumbersome to complete a transaction,” Ms. Skogg said. “And, it’s even more critical that the solution be secure – for both the consumer and the merchant or brand – for obvious reasons with fraud being so rampant.

“Our solution does just that, a small business owner simply has to showcase a SnapPay SnapTag on a table tent, business card, or other signage and a consumer can just scan, select an amount and pay,” she said. “Simplicity is what really drives scale.”

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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