Citibank Heads into Mint’s Territory with New iPad App
This week, Citibank released a new banking application for iPad, designed to give customers access to common banking tasks (balance checks, bill pay, transfers, etc.) as well as financial analysis tools. While we don’t (and can’t) cover all mobile application launches individually, the new Citibank iPad is an interesting case study that shows how a large organization has thoughtfully developed a platform-specific application instead of simply repackaging its mobile app for the bigger tablet-sized screen.
In addition, the financial tools now available in the Citi iPad app seem to take inspiration from similar online services, like Intuit’s money management suite at Mint.com, for example. And, says the company, the iPad app’s progress won’t stop here. It will be under constant evolution, getting “smarter” over the coming weeks, and may even help users manage offers and rewards in the future.
iPad Isn’t Just Another Mobile Platform
When Citi approached the iPad, explains Tracey Weber, Citi’s head of North American Internet and Mobile Banking, it did so thinking of it as not just another mobile offering. “We view the iPad as an opportunity to engage with customers in a much deeper way,” says Weber.
People use tablets in differently than they do their mobile smartphones, she says. They often engage with them in the evenings, reading magazines, books, and newspapers, playing games, and watching videos. This engaged type of use is what gave the bank the opportunity to provide its own more deeply engaging experience via the iPad.
Analyzing Your Finances, How Very Mint-Like!
Instead of simply providing company info and access to banking transaction tools, the app delves deeper into your finances, with rich, interactive charts highlighting things like cash flow, balance trends, overall debt and more. There’s even a section where you can compare your personal data to the aggregated, anonymous data of other Citi customers by a number of factors, including income level, household type, location and so on.
Being able to dive into your own finances like this, visualize trends, and make comparisons is one of the primary functions of the online financial management service Mint.com. Of course, Mint can track more than just bank accounts, covering everything from investments to auto loans. But such deep data analysis is still a rarity among banking institutions, which is why it’s so interesting to see what Citi is doing here. Even banking giant Bank of America only offers a fairly traditional iPad application, which just launched last month.
Future Offers/Rewards Platform?
Meanwhile, Citi comes out of the gate ahead, and is now planning to incorporate even more features, most of which it can’t talk about too much. But Citi is a launch partner with Google on Google Wallet, the new mobile wallet service designed for Android handsets. And Weber says that the company sees a “huge opportunity” in the offers/rewards space, which incidentally is a feature of the new Google service.
While there’s no direct announcement related to an forthcoming offers/rewards feature within Citi’s mobile apps, iPad or otherwise, it only makes sense that the company would one day port the rewards programs it now operates online to these newer form factors. It could then take advantage of the unique opportunities that come from being on mobile: access to a user’s real-time location, SMS text messaging, and more.
Banking just got a little less boring, we’d say. We’re staying tuned.
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