Having ditched the ‘bank’ from its name, US mobile-centric financial services provider Moven is gearing up for a closed beta launch at the end of February.
Pitching itself as a cardless and branchless alternative to traditional lenders, Moven is not actually a bank, instead working with partners that have charters and FDIC insurance while it provides the front-end. (One wag on Twitter derided the approach as “putting lipstick on a pig”).
It opened up an ‘alpha site’ to trialists in late 2011 and, having secured in the region of 10,000 sign-ups, $2.4 million in seed funding, and various technology partnerships, is now gearing up for its beta release.
Customers will receive a contactless MasterCard sticker which they can attach to their phone and link to the Moven app for real-world payments. Users will also be able to pay friends through Facebook, deposit cheques from their handset, and withdraw cash for free from thousands of ATMs across the Star network.
As non-traditional banking products continue to be introduced into the market, financial institutions must be vigilant in their review of the competitive landscape. Their competition extends beyond the usual suspects – peer banks and credit unions – and extend to a wide range of other firms offering novel banking products and services.
This will require ramped-up efforts at financial institutions to assess customer sentiment and satisfaction, as well as to identify key features and value propositions needed to acquire and retain customers.
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