USAA App, Cross-Selling, TradeKing Rate As Forrester Best Practices

We sat in on a Forrester Research Top 10 Financial Services Web Site Best Practices of 2009 Webinar this afternoon and thought we’d pass on a few highlights.

App Turns Phone Into An ATM

USAA’s mobile phone app (released first for the iPhone and in January for the Droid) enables registered accountholders to deposit checks simply by photographing the check and submitting the image via the phone.

We covered remote deposit capture (RDC) seven years ago when the payments industry introduced it as a solution for commercial customers that met volume requirements. It's exciting to see the capability downstreamed to consumers for one-off use.

Brad Strothkamp, Forrester principal analyst, singled the app out for two reasons.

First, it’s a best practice of offering content differentiated from what Internet banking applications offer. If you're working on a mobile strategy for an asset management company, be sure to consider the medum—offering just a miniature version of your mutual fund or ETF site won't cut it.

But more important, this app is an innovation that makes doing business with USAA easier.

According to USAA's January press release announcing the Droid app, in the five months since Deposit@Mobile was introduced in August 2009, customers deposited more than $300 million using their iPhones.

USAA provides financial services (including mutual funds) to military members and their family—a very mobile group. More than 1.2 million members use USAA's mobile platforms to manage daily transactions. Bases Cross-Selling On Potential Savings, the online personal finance site we've been encouraging you to keep an eye on for the audience it's building and the tools it's delivering, is now doing “smart” cross-selling based on transactional information. According to its site today, more than 1 million people have uploaded their checking, savings and investment account information to Mint and 3,000 are signing on each day. Mint is tracking $175 billion in transactions, $47 billion in assets and has identified more than $300 million in potential savings for its users.

In the cross-selling example that Strothkamp cites, when Mint "sees" discount brokerage commissions, it can cross-sell a lower-cost provider. Let’s set aside the other discussion we could have—i.e., How long until Mint begins to cross-sell based on mutual fund expense ratios?—this is smart Web site functionality.

Social Media Stimulates Trading

The TradeKing community is a Forrester favorite and you can read more about it on the Groundswell page. The community allows for traders to share trade and balance information at the aggregated level. Most intriguing in Strothkamp’s comments was that TradeKing finds the more active a trader is in the social community, the more they trade—four times more!

Across financial services businesses, “there’s a lot of interest in figuring out social tools,” Strothkamp said.