Chase Bank Archives

Gift Card Season Off to the Races: Square Places New Bet, Starbucks Goes All-In, Banks Stuck at Starting Gate

By Jim Bruene on November 21, 2014 3:43 PM | Comments


image This week, digital poster child Square jumped into the plastic gift card market. Unlike many of its new endeavors, old-school cards were met with a decided lack of enthusiasm in the tech press (and my Twitter feed). Many recalled the company's failed efforts with virtual gift cards (which I liked then, and still do). Most people in the tech press (and even more so in my Twitter feed) want their iPhone to handle all transactions, loyalty points, and payments. But that's not quite how the world works yet. Even Starbucks, claiming 90% of all U.S. mobile payments (pre Apple Pay of course), just launched a major holiday plastic initiative (see below).


How Square Gift Cards Work

The Square offering is compelling for its core small business clients. The cards are drop-dead simple. Merchants order from their Square dashboard which is powered by eCardSystems. Cards cost $1.50 per card with a minimum order of 125 and are shipped in 3 business days. Merchants load by swiping through Square's POS dongle or Register, and users are good to go. The merchant receives the entire load amount immediately (less Square's 2.9% cut).

The cards are heavily merchant branded. The merchant's name is printed on the front in a choice of fonts and colors and the merchant's contact info is printed on the back. The card design can be one of 20 generic designs (see screenshot) or can be customized with any image uploaded by merchant (cost is the same, but minimum quantity rises to 500, and turnaround time is 15 business days, so almost too late for the 2014 holiday season). The only Square branding is a small logo, seen back-of-card, lower right (see top of post).

The cards are reloadable, so they can be used as a loyalty platform, with rewards based on load amount. For example, my favorite coffee shop adds an extra 10% of value for each load.


 Starbucks Unveils In-Store "Card Collection"

imageOne of the the Starbucks flagship stores is in my neighborhood, so we occasionally see merchandise being tested. So, I'm not sure if this over-the-top gift card display is in wide use (see its Nov 12 press release). But the Seattle U-Village main Starbucks has two of these massive display cases near the queue (the back side has the usual holiday beans and merchandise). Apparently, there are more than 100 different designs.

It's no surprise. Last year, the company reported that $1.4 billion was loaded onto cards during 4th quarter and an astonishing 1 out of every 8 U.S. adults received a Starbucks card. It looks like they are going for 1 in 7 this year.


Bank Opportunities

I've been following bank efforts in gift cards for 10 years and have found little exciting to report (see archives). While a few bursts of activity have occurred at holiday times the last few years (previous posts), banks seem content to let their customers pick up cards at Safeway. Even Chase, which has a great card that my son uses, and was the highest-rated big-bank card in Consumer Reports (Aug 2013, Prepaid Buying Guide), has zero merchandising for "gift cards" on its website (see third screenshot below). 

Few banks are going to emulate Square's approach and build gift cards for acquiring clients. But I do see an opportunity to develop a retail gift card marketplace offering both plastic and virtual cards with distribution via online, mobile, in-branch and even ATM. It's on my short list of ways FIs could turn a buck from their presence (see post).


#1: First step in ordering plastic gift cards from Square's merchant dashboard


#2 Choose your card design (or upload your own image)



#3 Searching for "gift card" at Chase Bank



Why (Most) Banks Need Not Worry About Apple Pay (Yet)

By Jim Bruene on September 15, 2014 5:04 PM | Comments

image I'll admit to being caught up in the hype. The 48 hours after Tim Cook revealed Apple's long-rumored foray into payments were some of the most exciting times in fintech since the 1995 to 1997 period when most of the online "firsts" happened (see note 1).

And we're seeing more thoughtful fintech posts in the past week than we used to see in an entire year. Thanks especially to Tom Noyes, Cherian Abraham, Brian Roemmele, Celent's Zilvinas Bareisis and finally today from Gonzo's Steve Williams for helping me see beyond the hype.

I can add little that hasn't already been said to the discussion about NFC, payment ecosystems, or the future of mobile payments. Clearly, it marks a turning point for mobile payments and improved U.S. security, and the play-out will be fun to watch.

The one area I haven't seen covered: What does all this mean for the 10,000 U.S. banks and credit unions not on the 11-name list at launch (note 2)?

So here's my take on the impact of Apple Pay on small- and medium-sized FIs over various time horizons: 

In the short term (2014): ZERO

In the medium term (2015-2016): ZERO

In the long run (2017+): Something, but impossible to quantify at this point
                                     (it could even be net positive)

Here's why bank/CU execs (outside the top-20 credit-card issuers) should not lose sleep over what Apple is doing:

1. Apple Pay (in the physical world) can be used only at contactless terminals
Supposedly, there are 220,000 contactless terminals in the United States. But if you've ever tried to use one, you know that 200,000 of them are either not working or are buried behind beef jerky on the counter. This will change rapidly as merchants upgrade during the next few years.

2. It's complicated to use (at first)
First, you need an iPhone 6, then you need to figure out how to use Apple's Passbook program, log in to iTunes or take a picture of your card, successfully authorize it, enable TouchID and so on. Millions of early adopters will figure all that out, but then they won't be able to find a working contactless terminal (see #1) and then they'll forget all about it.

3. The number of your customers that care enough to move deposit accounts for NFC payments is near zero (for now)
Let's do the math. Assume that a year from now there are 5 million Apple Pay active users (making at least one transaction per week) or 2.5% of U.S adults. If you have 20,000 customers, that means 500 will be active users of Apple Pay. Most will be happy to use their existing Capital One, Citi, and other rewards credit cards for the transactions. Very few will care that your debit card doesn't work on the system. Let's say it's around 25%. That means you have something like 125 customers who are disappointed with your mobile payment capabilities. If they like you otherwise, how many will move their checking account to get an Apple Pay-enabled version? While the number is probably zero, let's say it's 5% to 10%. That means you could lose 6 to 12 customers. Using the 80/20 rule, only one or two of them are profitable. Will it hurt to lose two profitable customers? Sure, but it's not going to be on your top-10 or top-25 list of worries.   

4. There are ways to mitigate any lost wallet share to Apple-Pay issuers
Even if my math in #3 is way off, or you are concerned that you will take a material hit to the bottom line, or you just want to be part of Apple Pay, easy routes will undoubtably be built to get your cards enabled into Apple Pay. Maybe not in 2014 (or even 2015), but certainly within the next couple years. And even if I'm wrong and you are locked out of the iPhone indefinitely, you can create an Apple Pay poaching program where your customers make their charges on a bigco bank card, then you automatically pay those charges off and essentially transfer them to your customer's checking account.

So my final advice. If you have an employer (or spouse) that's been reluctant to fund your iThings, now is the perfect time to do an upgrade (just don't show them this post).


Chase homepage shown to existing customers (15 Sep 2014)
Note: All three links on bottom of page go to the iPhone6 "Apple Pay" features page at which leads with Chase (link)



1. Or perhaps 1999 when Paypal/ made P2P payments happen or even 2005/2006 when Zopa/Prosper/LendingClub launched consumer credit exchanges.
2. See Apple Pay launch event clip here, complete with transcript.


UI: Chase Bank Remodels the All-Important "Account Summary Alert"

By Jim Bruene on May 15, 2014 5:37 PM | Comments

image Here at Netbanker/OBR, we love to write about the digital future. But we know it's even more important to address the digital now. If you don't leverage current technology to your advantage, the future doesn't much matter, since someone else will be running your business.

Today's topic, one that we used to harp on constantly, is alerts (see previous "Alerts" posts).  Alerts are the way you maintain the relationship with customers between logins. But too many banks and credit unions take email alerts for granted, and are still using a template from 2004! Those templates were created prior to webmail, and, more importantly, before mobile viewership skyrocketed.

One bank whose messaging template was too long in the tooth is Chase (it's looked the same since at least 2010; see note 1). But as part of their continued digital remodeling, the bank changed it last week. It's not going to be confused with Simple or Mint, but it communicates the important information efficiently. And that's enough for most brands. 

The Improvements 


Following are the before-and-after shots on the desktop. As you can see, the old version was too wide for smaller laptops and lower-resolution computers. On my Mac it looked fine, but on my trusty old ThinkPad, it required horizontal scrolling to see the "total withdrawals."

What changed:

  • All the information is lined up on the left side so it can be easily read on any screen size; this is especially important on mobile which was previously impossible to read (on iPhone) without pinching and zooming.
  • Got rid of the Go Paperless! banner. Talk about banner fatigue. I understand that it's a great benefit to convert users to paperless, but really, four-plus years with the same banner? MIX IT UP, please!
  • Changed headline to position "Chase" as the first word instead of the last. That helps users scanning subject lines see that it's from their bank. 
  • Added light blue background at top to give it a better look.
  • Cleaned up the data table for better readability.
  • Made the website URL more visible.
  • Added toll-free contact number.
  • Added more fine print and caveats (the only item that is a step backwards).




Before (viewed through Gmail, 3 May 2014)



After (viewed through Gmail, 12 May 2014)



Mobile (screen captures from iPhone 5)

Before                                                          After

image        image


1. The UI described here is for a Chase checking account in Washington State (converted from WAMU). This email alert template may be different in other regions or for other account types.
2. For more info on alerts and messaging, see our 2010 Online Banking Report (subscription).


Chase Delivers Prepaid Liquid Cards Instantly In-Branch

By Jim Bruene on April 16, 2013 6:20 PM | Comments

image While I'm not a branch banking proponent, most of my experiences have been pleasant. But, I can't remember a complex transaction or problem resolution that was handled "beyond my expectations." That said, the crew at Chase Bank (Wedgwood), treats us very well and even reads this blog (hi Ben), and that's saying something.

But the Chase branch did beat expectation this past Saturday. My son was leaving on a school trip that night. I wanted to send him with a prepaid card for unforeseen travel expenses. I had a collection of cards in a drawer that I'd tested over the years. But for a variety of reasons they were all unusable (expired, dormant or just not working).

So, I figured I'd just buy him a throwaway card at Safeway. But I really wanted one that was easy to reload online in case he ran in to a cash jam (note 2). Since there is a Chase branch next to my usual Saturday coffee stop, I dropped by on the off-chance they could issue them on the spot.

I was shocked pleasantly surprised to find out the bank's relatively new Liquid  card was in stock and the opening process took less than 10 minutes, faster than a trip to Safeway. And the card was immediately linked to my online banking where I could transfer funds into the card.

It was the ultimate in convenience: no new passwords to remember, new UI's to traverse, or complex reloading procedures to figure out. The card does have a $4.95 monthly fee, but with no reloading costs, I think that's fair (note 1).

Bottom line: While I can't speak for the overall ROI of the branch on Saturday mornings (I was the only person there during my 10-15 min visit at 9:30 AM April 13), I was a very happy customer, who added another service to my Chase banking relationship, and created positive word of mouth (note 3). 


1. After I'd already committed to buying, I found out the monthly fee would be waived based on our business relationship. But that wasn't part of my purchasing decision.  
2. My son has apparently lost the card before I could even publish the blog post. So I will soon be experiencing Chase's lost card customer service.
3. Disclosure: We do not accept blog advertising or affiliate deals, so this is not a paid endorsement. Chase is a Finovate customer (newsletter, event tickets) like many of the companies mentioned here.


12/12/12 Credit Union Promotions

By Jim Bruene on December 12, 2012 12:12 PM | Comments

imageLast year, we were disappointed at the lack of promotions on double-triple-digit day, finding just a single promo 11/11/11 promotion (see our post on Notre Dame FCU). But it was Veteran's Day and most U.S. banks were closed.

This year, 12/12/12 falls at a much better time in the promo calendar, and FI marketers responded, at least on the credit union side. In the first five pages of Google results we found 15 CU promotions, most offering 12-month, $1,200 loans.

However, it turns out that "12/12/12 loans" are regular December fare at a number of credit unions. Only four of the 15 were focused on the once-in-a-hundred-years date, one on the deposit side and three low-rate loan specials (note 1).

The standout deal? A 0.12% APR on a $1,200 loan from L'Oreal USA FCU

Here are the four CU 12/12/12 promos:

  • L'Oreal USA Federal Credit Union: 12-month, $1,200 loan with with APR = 0.12% (requires payroll deduction & estatements; link, screenshot #1)
  • Meadowland Credit Union: 12-month, $1,200 loan with rate as low as 1.2% (direct deposit & checking account required; link, screenshot #2)
  • Notre Dame Federal Credit Union: 120-day loan of $1,212.12 at an APR of 1.1212% (requires opening new credit card; link, screenshot #3)
  • USAlliance FCU: 12-month, 1.2% APY CD (new money only; link, screenshot #4)

Other 12/12/12 loan seemingly unrelated to Dec 12, 2012 (with links to the loan page):

  • Carolina Foothills FCU (link)
  • Clackamas FCU (link)
  • Ecusta Credit Union (link)
  • Freedom FCU (ran during the summer, link)
  • Fremont FCU (link)
  • Gulf Coast Educators FCU (link; see banner at top of post)
  • John Hopkins FCU (link)
  • Northwest Georgia Credit Union (link)
  • Northwest Resource FCU (link)
  • SRP Federal Credit Union (link)
  • Telhio Credit Union (link)

No banks seem to be joining the fun. Although Chase was promoting its sponsorship of the 12/12/12 Sandy benefit concert with an AdWords buy on Google yesterday (screenshot 5). 


1. L'Oreal USA FCU is offering a rate of just 0.12%
Note: Interest totals just $0.78 over the life of the loan, payroll deduction required


2. Meadowland Credit Union worked Aaron Rodger into its promo


3. Notre Dame FCU is the only FI that ran promotions on both 11/11/11 and 12/12/12 promotions
(11 Dec 2012)


4. USAlliance FCU was the only one with a deposit special


Chase Bank is the headline sponsor of a Sandy benefit concert (link)



1. We searched for "12/12/12 promotion credit union" and found many entries. The same search with "bank" instead of "credit union" turned about nothing (at least through the first dozen pages of results).


CafeGive Powers Cause Marketing via Facebook

By Jim Bruene on November 29, 2012 8:57 PM | Comments (1)

image The response  to Chase Bank's Community Giving Facebook campaign has been remarkable (except for a few glitches). It's one of the top social media successes across all industries (see previous post).

If you are looking to do something similar this holiday season (or more likely in 2013), you may want to outsource the tech to a specialist who can help maximize the power of social networks while keeping you from free from any controversy.

image There are a number of companies that can help you create Facebook apps. For example, we were recently briefed by a newcomer that has been getting some traction recently with a large U.S. bank and several credit unions, CafeGive.

CafeGive-powered financial institution examples:

  • US Bank ran a successful program earlier this year in partnership with the Oregon State Activities Association. In a strategy reminiscent of Chase Community Giving, the bank invited the community to nominate and vote (see inset; case study). Six winning high schools each received $2,500. The bank is expected to run the promotion again in 2013.
  • Patelco Credit Union is using a simple fundraising app they were able to deploy within a few days after Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast USA (see screenshot 1 - 4). The app includes a progress bar, updated in real-time, showing progress towards the goal.
  • Alaska's Credit Union 1 is donating $1 per like to the Food Bank of Alaska (see screenshot 5 & 6)

Many marketers have mixed feelings about cause marketing. On the one hand you are bragging about how generous you are while at the same time convincing your CFO that there is a positive ROI. But regardless of your motives, you want to get as much bang for your buck. Outsourcing the plumbing makes a lot of sense for these less-frequent programs.  

Bottom line: It's win-win. You do the right thing and it improves your brand image and boosts employee morale.


Patelco Credit Union

1. Patelco features its CafeGive-powered donation app on its main Facebook page (link; 29 Nov 2012)

Patelco Credit Union features its CafeGive-powered donation app on its main Facebook page

2. Simple donation page with progress meter
(link; 29 Nov 2012)

Simple donation site with progress meter at Patelco CU

3. Co-branded payment page powered by PayPal

Co-branded CafeGive payment page powered by PayPal  

4. After completing the PayPal process, a thank-you page shows the progress bar updated with the new donation

Thank you page from CafeGive


Credit Union 1

5. Credit Union 1 showcases "like us | give" link on its main Facebook page (link; 29 Nov 2012)


6. CafeGive-powered "like us" promotion pays out $1 per like (link)

CafeGive-powered "like us" promotion at Credit Union 1 pays out $1 per like

1. According to CafeGive Founder Sandra Morris, consumers gravitate towards brands with a conscious. She cites a survey that showed the top-3 reasons millennials gave for using a brand were: a) convenience, b) online services, and c) give back.  
2. See our Online Banking Report "Banking in Facebook" (published Feb. 2012, subscription)

Comments (1)

Chase Bank's Remodel: The Death of the "Swiss Army Knife" Banking Homepage?

By Jim Bruene on October 8, 2012 2:11 PM | Comments (1)

chase mobile logo reflection.jpg

I'm still digesting Chase's radical homepage redesign (see screenshots 1 & 2). While I love the focus on just three product messages, devoting 50% of the page (above the fold even) to the login button seems like a lost opportunity. Perhaps it's a temporary welcome area to ease users back onto the site.

chase dropdown.jpg

Only existing customers get the half-screen login. Non-customers get an additional marketing message on about two-thirds of that space (see screenshot 3).

The new site looks great on an iPad (portrait or landscape), but it's not served to iPhone users at this point. They still see the ultra-trim mobile screen <>. 

The bank has drastically reduced navigation options. A single tab called Products & Services launches a dropdown box with links to all the product areas (see inset).

A second tab, Why Chase?, lays out the major benefits, the missing tab at most banking sites. And the final tab, which seems completely redundant, causes a drop-down login box to appear.

Although I missed it initially, Chase has not done away with the Personal/Business/Commercial designations. Tiny links in the upper left allow users to head to the appropriate business version. Biz services are also listed on the Products & Services dropdown (bottom of inset).

Bottom line: Chase has moved past trying to be all things to all people on the homepage. That's huge, and I hope it becomes a trend. Both Citi and Bank of America have taken similar paths recently. But Citi uses striking photography in the background to give it a more luxurious feel (as does Salem Five). And Bank of America exposes more product areas across the top (Bank, Borrow, Invest, Protect, Plan).

All in all, I applaud the streamlining after what must have been an epic battle. But I don't think the bank has completely hit the mark. Make it an A-  


1. Chase Bank homepage on first visit (4 Oct 2012; with customer cookies; via PC Chrome browser)

Chase new site 1.jpg

2. Return visit
Note: Welcome to our New Home Page replaced with Slate credit-card promo (lower-link portion of page remains the same and is not shown below)

chase new site 2.jpg

3. Chase Bank homepage with no customer cookies

chase newsite 3.jpg

4. Landing page explaining changes (link)

chase newpage lander.jpg

Comments (1)

The End of Non-Automated-Teller Deposits

By Jim Bruene on June 19, 2012 5:56 PM | Comments (2)


This month marked a turning point in my relationship with our business bank. Except for the odd check in a foreign currency, we've stopped using the teller to deposit checks.

We could use mobile remote capture, but since we walk or drive by a branch most days, it's easier (and probably faster) to just stop by and make the deposit. But we no longer go inside to the teller line. All the Chase branches in our neighborhood have image-capture ATMs, they are rarely busy and are open 24/7.

We can feed in our usual stack of 6 or 7 checks in a minute or two, saving 4 or 5 minutes from doing it with a teller. And we walk away with a picture of the checks deposited, something you don't get from the teller or your mobile phone. True, printed copies are redundant with the online images, but the paper records are reassuring for us and our bookkeeper.


Bottom line: I know that ATMs are enormously expensive to purchase, maintain and stock with fresh $20s. But it looks like their image-capture capability, combined with mobile remote deposit and check-image storage in online banking, has finally created a package that substantially reduces the need for the tellers they were named after.

Comments (2)
Categories: ATMs, Chase Bank

Self-Serve: Chase Bank Allows Users to Create Their Own Billpay "Proof of Payment" Letters

By Jim Bruene on February 14, 2012 8:16 PM | Comments (3)

image Last night, my son was having trouble convincing his college landlord that the Feb rent payment had been sent via online billpay. I was not happy, envisioning an extended conversation with bank customer service, something that is very, very low on my list of Monday night activities.

So I logged in to the Chase account to see if the check had cleared. At best, I expected to see that the payment had been sent via billpay, but no way to prove that the check had actually arrived. 

Bit I was pleasantly surprised. Not only could I see that the payment had cleared, the bank had posted an image of the check so I could see the landlord's endorsement (see screenshot 1 and 2).

That was great on its own. But wait, there was more.

The bank offers a self-service "Note to Payee" function that automatically creates a letter to document payment details, including a copy of the check image (see screenshot 3). All you have to do is download the PDF and attach it to an email to the payee.

The only hitch in the system is finding these functions. They are located under the Payments & Transfers tab (see screenshot 1). That's not bad, but it would be more intuitive to place a direct link from the the online statement (My Accounts) to the bill payment details. Also, the "Print to PDF" button is easily missed (screenshot 2).

Still, the entire process took less than two minutes. And I didn't have to call customer service, a saving of 15 minutes of my time and $15-20 in customer service expense by the bank. 

The letter worked perfectly. Within an hour, the landlord had backed down, apologized for her error, and went back to her day job. This pretty much makes up for the unreadable bit of correspondence I got from the bank last week. 


1. Chase bill payment activity screen (14 Feb 2012)

Chase bill payment activity area within online banking

2. Chase proof-of-payment screen
Note: Print to PDF option

Chase bill payment details page

3. Chase automatically generated "Note to Payee" letter in PDF format

Chase proof of payment letter

Note: See our Online Banking Report for more info on bill payment, messaging, customer service and much more.

Comments (3)

Holiday Promotions at the Top-20 U.S. Banks

By Jim Bruene on December 21, 2011 4:38 PM | Comments

Since I began blogging in 2004, I've usually run a year-end post looking at the holiday marketing efforts of the top-20 U.S. banks (links below). This year, only 7 of the 20 banks are using holiday or seasonal imagery on their homepages. That's a decrease of 3 over last year.

As usual, PNC Bank is the gold standard for holiday bank promotions, with its long-running (25+ years) "cost of Christmas index" which quantifies the cost of procuring all the items mentioned in the famous song, "12 Days of Christmas." Following is a quick overview of the promotions, including a 1-to 5-bulb rating. 

Previous posts: 2010, 2009 part 1, 2009 part 2, 2007, 2006, 2006, 2004


Big banks in the holiday spirit
(rated 1 to 5 bulbs)

PNC: Christmas cost index

  • Cost of Christmas based on the song 12 Days of Christmas

Score: imageimageimageimageimage



Landing page: Amazing microsite, wonderful graphics, and slow loading (link)


Fifth Third: holiday sweeps

  • Pay Your Bills sweeps with holiday graphics
  • Small ad with a card wrapped with ribbon which directs users to branches for "holiday shopping made easy," presumably for gift cards, but neither the ad nor the landing page make that clear

Score: imageimageimageimage


ING Direct: Mobile usage sweeps

  • 12 Days of Mobile sweeps

Score: imageimageimageimage


Landing page


Chase: sweeps and car loans

  • Winner Wonderland, credit card sweeps with one entry for every credit card purchase and 5 entries for every donation put on the Chase card
  • Add joy to your wallet, car refinance promotion

Score: imageimageimage


BB&T: Visa gift card

  • Small advertisement in lower right

Score: image image



TD Bank: Visa gift card

  • Small advertisement in lower right (below the fold on my laptop)

Score: image



Key Bank: gift cards

  • Very small gift-card promo, below the fold on my laptop and rotating with a half-dozen other items

Score: image




1. No holiday imagery on the homepages of BofA, Wells Fargo, Citibank, HSBC, US Bank, SunTrust, Capital One, Citizens, Regions, Harris, Bank of the West, Union Bank, Comercia
2. Screenshots taken from Ft. Myers, FL, IP address, between 7 and 8 PM, 20 Dec 2011    
3. Credit: Happy Holidays animation from


Notifying Card Issuers that You Are Out of the Country

By Jim Bruene on August 17, 2011 6:02 PM | Comments (3)

image We were lucky enough to take a quick trip to Europe this summer and one of the many rituals of modern travel is convincing your card issuers not to block international transactions. The conventional wisdom is to notify issuers in advance. While not an absolute necessity, it is said to improve your odds.

The process is very straightforward. All the bank needs is your travel dates and where you are visiting. However, it is tedious over the phone due to redundant authentication requirements.

Consequently, it's an ideal service to automate with online, or even better, mobile form. I wrote about it the last time I traveled. But this time I put a clock on the process, just to see exactly how much time was wasted, for both the consumer and bank, on the phone. 

Summary: It took about 1 minute per card to register online at Capital One and Chase. Over the phone, it took 6.5 minutes at Wells Fargo and 9.5 at U.S. Bank. No one has it in their mobile app yet (see details below).   

I realize that online travel notifications are not a high priority these days. But, it's such a win-win service, I wish more banks offered it. However, the real end game is to build automatic location notification into mobile-banking apps. Even if customers won't agree to being tracked 24/7, there could be a button in the app that users press to submit their GPS location whenever they land in a new city or country. 

That gives customers total control, but makes it super easy for them to communicate. And it gives you a highly  secure method of knowing your customers are in the same location as their card. 

Capital One: Online -- 2 minutes to register 2 cards (see screenshots in previous post)

Luckily, Capital One, my go-to card abroad with no international transaction fee, has an online form to do this. It's not easy to find, but I'd written about it before so I knew roughly where to look. The form is a little convoluted; if traveling to multiple countries, you have to keep pressing "add another destination," but it took less than a minute to add the five countries were we passing through.

I have Capital One personal and business cards which are integrated into the same online banking platform. But unfortunately, you have to do each card separately, so total time expended, including login, was about 2 minutes.

Capital One gets extra credit for sending me an email on my scheduled departure day asking me whether I needed anything and providing their international call-center instructions. _________________________________________________________________________________

Chase Bank: Online -- less than 1 minute for 2 cards (see screenshot in previous post)

I couldn't remember whether Chase had an online option, so I logged in, didn't see it on the right-hand column of common links. So I went to customer service and found it on the list of available tasks. The form was super-easy; I could do both of my cards at once and just free-form input the countries. Total form-completion time was under 10 seconds, but if counting login and function-search, it took just under a minute. __________________________________________________________________________________

U.S. Bank: Phone: 9.5 minutes on phone + 2 minutes searching online for 1 debit card (with 2 different account numbers)

I first checked online to see if travel notifications had been added since the last time I checked. No such luck, so about 2 minutes were wasted. Because we needed ATM access abroad, we had to have this card working, so I reluctantly called the 800 number on a Friday evening, and was told that wait times were approx 4 minutes. I think they were only half that, but it still took me a full 9.5 minutes to get my ATM cards registered. About one minute of that was spent finding my wife's debit card, which I now know has a different number than mine.

Why the agent couldn't handle both ATM cards from a joint account without needing the other number is beyond me, but he insisted.

Total time expended was 2 minutes online and 9.5 on the phone: 11.5 minutes total.

Extra credit goes to the U.S. Bank agent who activated my new debit card that had recently come in the mail. My old card would have expired during the trip.  

Wells Fargo: Phone: 6.5 minutes on the phone + 2 minutes searching online for 1 card

My wife carries a Wells card at all times, so usually she handles travel notifications. But since I was already on a roll, I took on the task. Although I didn't recall ever seeing it, I assumed Wells would have an online option, but after a search of the site, I found that my hunch was wrong and that I'd wasted a few minutes.

I called the 800 number and was able to complete the process in about 6.5 minutes. Much of that time was spent listening to menu choices and current balance info (which I didn't want). Had I known how to skip through the menus, it would have taken only about 3 minutes. The agent was friendly and efficient, although she twice asked if she could also activate my debit card even though I don't have a checking account there. But I appreciate that she was trying to be thorough. ___________________________________________________________________________________

Bank of America: Phone -- 2 minutes, 0 cards

I was going to take my Bank of America card along, but after searching customer service I could not find an online form to complete, so I decided to leave it at home. Score 1 for the more online-savvy approach at its competitors.

Comments (3)

Chase Bank Offers 0% Balance Transfer and Easy Online Transfer

By Jim Bruene on August 4, 2011 3:52 PM | Comments

(Ed. note: The original promotion shown below was made by Chase in early April, right before U.S. income taxes were due. But the bank is still offering similar balance-transfer options, as outlined below).

imageWhen I logged in to my Chase credit card account, I was greeted with an imageattractive interstitial ad promising to save me money if I transferred a credit balance to the bank (see Figure 1).

The bank offers two or three choices of terms and rates. Obviously, you can't beat 0%, but evidently some customers prefer to lock in a lower rate longer. Last week, we had the following choices:

  • 0% for 11 months (thru June 2012)
  • 1.99% for 17 months (thru Dec. 2012)
  • 5.99% for 22 months (thru May 2013)

Each choice also required an immediate 1% fee on the transferred amount (note 1).  


The interstitial ad grabs your attention and the pricing is aggressive, so I expect Chase is getting good takeup. More interesting to me is the actual online transfer process which appeared flawless, though I didn't actually move any money. My only major criticism is that the prices are a little hard to find, especially the transfer fee.

It's a great offer and lets the customers see the total price right away. Overall, I give it an A-.


  • Great, eye-catching graphics
  • Copy is very concise, passing the 25-word "Google homepage" mark
  • Clear benefit, "save/saving" used twice in the 15-word ad
  • Clicking through leads directly to the transfer page where users can accept the offer (see Figure 2 and 3)

Not so great:

     On interstitial ad (Figure #1):

  • Not super clear where to click to take advantage of savings
  • The actual value of the "Great low rate" is not disclosed until after you click-through to transfer page (second screenshot)
  • The laptop graphic image is not particularly interesting

    On the transfer page (Figure #2), :

  • Two choices are virtually identical (0% though Feb. 2012 or 0% through March 2012) and one that's clearly less appealing (2.99% through Aug. 2012).
  • There is no specific disclosure on the first page of the transfer fee (which I believe is 4%), just the famous "additional terms apply" (the fee comes in step 3, Figure 5)

Recent offers: On my original April 1 test (Figure 1 & 2), I didn't go through the entire process. So I went back last week to see when Chase discloses the transfer fee. The user is told about the 1% transfer fee (see note 1) during the second step (Figure 5) when they are asked to agree to terms and conditions. The go-to rate after is also listed.

Figure 1: Chase interstitial ad at credit card login (1 April 2011, 8 PM Pacific)

Chase login ad

Figure 2: Landing page to begin balance-transfer process (1 April 2011)

Landing page after login

Retesting the service
(21 July 2011; 10 PM Pacific)
Figure 3: Step 1 -- Select an offer

Step 1: Chase credit card balance transfer process

Figure 4: Step 2 -- Enter transfer details (card number and amount)

Step 2: Chase credit card balance transfer process

Figure 5: Step 3 -- Agree to the terms and conditions

Step 3: Chase credit card balance transfer process


1. Chase's 1% transfer fee is much lower than the 4% seen in most other offers. The bank should highlight that number since it's a selling point.


Chase Bank's Jot App Shows the Future of Mobile Transaction Processing

By Jim Bruene on June 8, 2011 7:54 PM | Comments (2)

image image I've been waiting for something like Chase Bank's Jot (see note 1). It's part of the "second wave" of mobile apps that demonstrate why mobile banking will soon be better than online banking.

Mobile banking phase 1: 2008 through 2011

Mobile's first wave was all about porting the most-used online functions, balance inquiry and statement viewing, to a smaller screen. That was convenient for smartphone owners on the go, but it didn't add much to the overall user experience. 

The test of whether you've nailed the mobile UX is if that even if you are within arm's reach of your laptop, you still pick up the mobile to perform a function. Most mobile banking systems fail that test, i.e. you only use mobile banking when online access is inconvenient or insecure.

Mobile banking phase 2: 2011+

The second wave is much more interesting. Your mobile phone can do financial chores that simply cannot be accomplished online, for example:

  • Deposit a paper check via mobile camera (USAA, Chase, PayPal and many more)
  • Transfer money to your friend by "bumping" phones (PayPal, ING Direct)
  • Alert you to special merchant offers in your exact location that are redeemable simply by using your bankcard (BankOns)
  • Pay your bill automatically by scanning the billing statement (Mitek)
  • Upload paper receipts and append them to expense reports (Expensify)

And the latest addition to that list:

  • Receive feed of transactions and tag them with categories for future reference and reporting (Chase Jot)


How Jot works

Chase's new app (announced 1 June 2011) may not be as cool as remotely depositing a check, but it's much more useful for most cardholders. The iPhone and Android app, which is currently available only for the bank's Ink business credit card, sends push notifications of each transaction (see inset) and enables users to (relatively) quickly append transactions with category information, i.e. "tag" transactions. 

image One key Jot feature, missing in most mobile banking services, is a running list of the transactions waiting to be tagged (see right).

That way, when the business owner has a few spare moments, they can quickly get caught up with their categorizing work. This ongoing attention will reduce the quarterly game of "what's that transaction" played when finalizing the company books.

So not only does Jot save time, it potentially improves the quality of the accounting data, always a good thing for business management. 

The app also includes other business credit card management functions such as basic reports by tag, the ability to change employee credit limits, and info on outstanding balances and payment due dates.

While the functionality is still pretty basic (e.g., there is no way to add more than one tag to a transaction), there are only 60 days of transactions available, and login needs to be simplified, overall Jot is a winner. We are tagging it with an A-.


1. The Jot landing page is well done and includes a series of four short demo videos.
2. For OBR subscribers, see our previous Online Banking Reports on mobile banking and payments.

Comments (2)

Chase Bank Plays the Ecommerce Card: Offers $100 Bonus for its "Instant Storefront" Solution

By Jim Bruene on April 4, 2011 7:51 PM | Comments

image Chase Bank is aggressively pushing its latest small biz initiative, Instant Storefront, billed as a way for old-school "9 to 5" businesses to sell online 24/7. Here's where I ran across it last week: 

  • A radio ad a few days ago (in Seattle)
  • Full-page ad in the San Francisco Business Times (p. 24 of March 25-31 issue)
  • On the main account management page within online banking
  • Small ad on Chase's business banking public page today (see last screenshot, note 1)
  • Email yesterday offering a $100 bonus to give it a try (see first screenshot, note 2). 

The email is short and sweet with a good subject line and appealing design. The green button leads to a landing page with more info (second screenshot). The page includes an old-school, and very effective lead-gen technique, offering to email the $100 coupon to interested visitors (third screenshot).

The cost is $30 per month, and the bank throws in a $350 POS terminal and waives $150 in startup fees for new Chase Paymentech merchant customers.

To redeem the offer, customers must visit with a business banking specialist in a Chase Branch. Ecommerce website development seems like a bit of a stretch for a business banker to be conversant with, but hopefully it's very turn-key. And I like how the service positions Chase as an online partner to small biz, so it may be a brilliant branding tool.

Using a browser with cookies removed (note 1), I don't see any mention of the new service on Chase's website and searching for "storefront" in its site search returns nothing (note 3). So Instant Storefront may be a western market test.


Chase Bank email to business customers about Instant Storefront (30 March 2011)

Chase Bank email to business customers about Instant Storefront (30 March 2011)

Landing page for Instant Storefront (link)

Landing page for Instant Storefronts

Lead-gen page where users enter their email address to get the $100 coupon

Chase Lead-gen page where users enter their email address to get the $100 coupon

Chase public business banking site (with Washington state customer cookie)

Chase public business banking site (with Washington state customer cookie)

1. The ad appears only on the browser I use to access my Chase account. On browser with cookies disabled, I do not see the Instant Storefront ad.
2. The print and radio ads also offer the $100 bonus.
3. The bank uses the URL: in its radio ad.
4. For more info, see Online Banking Report: Micro- and Small Business Online Banking (published Oct. 2009)


Chase Bank's Checking Account Recommender is Flawed

By Jim Bruene on March 29, 2011 3:51 PM | Comments

image Yesterday, I visited Chase Bank's checking account sales page (screenshot 1 below). Overall, I was impressed. The page is attractive and the bank lays out the options well. I especially liked the icons across the page emphasizing the free benefits applicable to all account types: online/mobile banking, alerts, ATMs and the debit card. Finally, it's easy to figure out how to apply for an account online.

However, the bank's "help me choose" function is flawed (though wisely buried at the bottom of the page, so it may be lightly used). It starts out fine by asking two simple questions:

  • What is your estimated deposit balance you'll keep at Chase?
  • Are you interested in checking account benefits for students age 13-24? (Yes/No)

But things quickly go off the rails.

Flaw #1: Bad form design

Since I have two kids in the student bracket, I naturally chose "yes" to the second question (see second screenshot). I wasn't looking for a student account, but sure, I'm interested. And I thought it was pretty smart of Chase to try to sell me on a kid's account from the get-go.

However, the bank assumed that was all I cared about and pushed me towards student bank accounts even though I'd said I was keeping $15,000+ on deposit (see third screenshot).

So I went back to that page to change the student selection and discovered that once your selection is made, it cannot be changed. Even when you click the "clear" button, the radio button stays set to "Yes." You have to choose "cancel," which sends you all the way back to the previous page, and then start over from scratch. By that time, many (most?) customers will have moved on. 

Flaw #2: Not enough info gathered to make meaningful recommendations

While I applaud the simplicity of the wizard, the bank can't really make a solid recommendation knowing only my anticipated deposit balance. There has to be some understanding of how the customer values the features of the deluxe checking account options such as no-fee non-Chase ATM usage, free OD transfers, free companion checking accounts, free safety-deposit box (see recommendations, screenshots 4 and 5).

Flaw #3: Doesn't identify existing customers 

And speaking of missing info, the bank is neglecting a huge part of the equation, whether I'm an existing customer or not. In fact, I do have a business account there and just a few days ago an in-branch account rep had pitched a free companion personal checking account to me. But the checking account wizard doesn't ask if I'm an existing customer (and the bank apparently is not using cookies to hone in on that either).

Bottom line: Chase does a good job engaging checking account prospects, but it's missing an opportunity to help them choose the right account.


Chase Bank's main checking account page (28 March 2011)

Chase Bank's main checking account page (28 March 2011)

The help-me-choose wizard

The help-me-choose a checking account wizard at Chase Bank

Results page when checking the student box on the wizard

Results page when checking the student box on the wizard Chase Bank

Results page if student not checked (and balance equals $15k+)

Chase Results page if student not checked (and balance equals $15k)

Results page if student not checked (and balance is less than $15k)

Results page if student not checked (and balance is less than $15k)  


Note: For more on online account opening, see our Online Banking Report: Online Account Opening (June 2009).


Set Travel Notifications Online at Capital One and Chase Bank

By Jim Bruene on January 25, 2011 6:27 PM | Comments (2)

image Since I'm about to cross the Atlantic for our FinovateEurope conference, I wanted to warn my card issuers that they'll soon be seeing unusual charges. Luckily, two of my issuers now allow customers to handle that online, saving time and money for the bank and me. Thank-you Capital One and Chase Bank (see screenshots below).

However, I was only batting .250 since six did not offer an online option (at least not for my account types): American Express, Bank of America, Citibank, Discover, US Bank and Wells Fargo.

Bottom line: In the not-to-distant future, this manual process will be rendered moot, because my issuers will know where I am via mobile phone GPS (see Finsphere posts). But until then, I appreciate the time savings of the online option and am more likely to use these two cards because of it.

Capital One "Set Travel Notification" link within Customer Service area (25 Jan. 2010)

Capital One "Set Travel Notification" within Customer Service Area

Capital One's Set Travel Notification form


Chase Bank's Travel Notification Form within Customer Center

Chase Bank's Travel Notification Form within Customer Service

Chase Bank's Travel Notification Form

Chase Bank's Travel Notification Form

Comments (2)

Chase Bank Uses QR Code in Homepage Banner

By Jim Bruene on January 20, 2011 5:16 PM | Comments

Here's the first time I've seen a QR code used on a bank's homepage. After an animation sequence (below) announcing Chase Bank's new Android mobile banking app, the final graphic displays a code that Android smartphone users can scan to download the new app. Very clever.  

Chase Bank homepage (20 Jan. 2011)

Chase homepage announing android mobile banking app

Landing page (link)

Chase landing page for its new android mobile banking app

Animation graphic 1:


Animation graphic 2:


Animation graphic 3:



Charging More for Branch and Call-Center Transactions Compared to Online Ones

By Jim Bruene on November 4, 2010 6:35 PM | Comments

image Recently, I spent 34 frustrating minutes in a branch completing a single international wire transfer. And 22 minutes of that was with the branch manager. How much did that cost the bank compared to the same transaction online? 2x more? 5x more? 50x more? 

And more importantly, what’s the customer experience?  How much happier would I have been to do the transaction online in the comfort of my own home? 2x? 5x? 1000x?

In this particular case the question is moot, because my primary bank does not support online or call-center wires unless I upgrade to a much-pricier commercial checking account.

But for those financial institutions that do offer a choice, the math is pretty clear. It costs WAY less to complete a transaction online and (most) customers are WAY happier to complete routine transactions online, assuming sufficient security is in place.

Yet, many banks still price the services the same regardless of the channel. While this is understandable from a simplicity standpoint (and you don't want to alienate branch/call center users), it's time to start using price to reward self-service.

For example, in my most recent Chase business checking account statement, I noticed that the bank is instituting a new fee structure for stop-payment requests. Beginning Nov. 13, each request made in branch or over the phone will cost $32. In comparison, online requests will be $25 each, a 22% savings. Wires are also $5 cheaper online than in the branch (see below).


The downside is that customers may be outraged by a $20/$25 fee for a transaction they initiate themselves online. But the discount, combined with the time savings, should help ease the pain.


Financial Companies Dominate Groundswell Awards in North American B2C Category

By Jim Bruene on November 1, 2010 3:59 PM | Comments

imageIt's not often that financial services companies take home multiple trophies in a cross-industry retail-marketing competition. But last week, they took home almost half the top prizes in Forrester's Groundswell competition for the best use of "social" techniques in their marketing efforts.

Financial companies won nine of 20 possible honors including three of seven category winners and six of 13 runner-up awards (called "finalists"). Four of the winners were in tax prep, a surprisingly social activity.   

The financial category-winners:

Financial runner-ups (aka finalists):

  • Listening (of 3 total)
    -- Listening to the Student Pulse by Bank of America and Communispace
  • Talking (of 2 total)
    -- American Family Insurance on Facebook by American Family Insurance
  • Energizing (of 2 total)
    -- TurboTax Embraces Customer Reviews for Viral Growth by Intuit, Inc.
    -- USAA Implements Ratings and Reviews by USAA
  • Supporting (of 2 total)
    -- Get it Right Community by H&R Block
    -- Taxes on Twitter: @TeamTurboTax Provides Customer Support and Resources by Intuit Inc.

Intuit's TurboTax division alone accounted for three of the nine financial winners. USAA bagged two awards and H&R Block, Chase, Bank of America and American Family each received one Groundswell award.


Part 2: Chase Apologizes for Outage in Customer Email but is Light on Details

By Jim Bruene on September 20, 2010 6:35 PM | Comments (2)

image Over the weekend, Chase Bank sent a short email apology to its online customers. Overall, the message was fine and now the bank can check that off its to-do list.

I'm glad the bank didn't waste a hundred million dollars giving everyone a $5 credit. A simple apology is the best approach, preferably during the actual outage. This message, six days after the initial downtime, is a bit sub-par for a company with the resources of Chase (for a review of its initial communications, see our previous post and today's review at The Financial Brand).

Analysis of the Chase email (screenshot below): Overall, the email message was adequate. The title was good, "Please accept our apologies." And that was all most people needed to hear. But I'm a little surprised by the lack of detail provided within the message. Especially, considering the much better note posted to over the weekend, then apparently taken down (see note 1 below).

In Sunday's email, Chase reassured customers that "(your) account information was not compromised." That's great, but the bank could have scored extra points by saying exactly what went wrong, how they fixed it, and what they are doing to prevent a recurrence (this info could be delivered via a link to more detail on the website.) 

The bank should also have made the apology unconditional. Chase's exact words (italics mine), "we apologize if this created difficulties" and "please accept our apology for any inconvenience this may have caused." Forget the conditions. Assume it inconvenienced everyone and just straight-up say you are sorry.

Another no-small thing. A note of apology should be from an actual person (like the bank's website message, note 1). The lack of a signer imparts a nagging impression that no one at the bank has stepped up to own the problem. An email address or phone number for additional info would also make it seem more sincere.

Finally, according to the info posted on the site over the weekend, the bank is covering late fees caused by the outage (see note 1). Perhaps that email went only to bill-pay customers (which I am not). But still, why not mention it?  


PS  One last question and then we'll move on, promise. Why was the online apology taken down after just a few days? Many customers affected by the outage will never see the all-important public apology on the bank's homepage (see screenshot at The Financial Brand).

Chase Bank apology email (19 Sep 2010, 2PM Pacific)

  Chase Bank apology email (19 Sep 2010)

1. According to the New York CBS affiliate, the following appeared on the Chase website on Friday, 17 Sep (link):

We are sorry for the difficulties that recently affected and we apologize for not communicating better with you about this issue. As you may know, we experienced a significant service interruption and Online Bill Payments that were scheduled to be sent on September 13, 14, or 15, 2010, were sent by the morning of September 16, 2010.

If you scheduled a payment to be sent during those dates, but do not see it reflected in your payment activity by September 16, 2010, please contact us.

We are working hard to make sure that any late fees you may have incurred as a result of this processing delay are being refunded:

  • If your payment was to another Chase account (for example, Chase Credit Card Services), we are automatically refunding any late fees.
  • If your payment was to anyone other than Chase (for example, your telephone service, utilities or another financial institution), we are contacting many payees to prevent late fees from being charged.
  • However, if your payee charged you a late fee, please call us at one of the numbers below or visit your nearest Chase branch. We will refund the late fee to you.

We recommend that you keep this letter in case you need to provide information to your payee.

Please be assured that Chase's online security has not been compromised as a result of this service interruption. Your accounts and confidential information remain safe and secure.

Giving you 24-hour access to your banking is of the utmost importance to us. This was not the level of service we know you expect, and we will work hard to serve and communicate with you better in the future.

Again, please accept our apology for this disruption and thank you for your patience. If you have any questions, please stop by your nearest Chase branch or call:

  • 1-800-935-9935 for Personal accounts
  • 1-877-CHASEPC (1-877-242-7372) for Business accounts
  • 1-800-848-9136 for Home Lending and Auto accounts
  • For credit card accounts, please call the number on the back of your card


Patricia O. Baker
Senior Vice President
Chase Executive Office

Comments (2)

Lessons from Chase's Online Banking Outage

By Jim Bruene on September 14, 2010 11:00 PM | Comments (3)

image For much of Tuesday (see note 1), Chase Bank had a message in the upper left corner of its website saying that the website was temporarily unavailable "due to scheduled system maintenance" (screenshot here). Later in the day, the bank finally took that excuse down and merely said that the site is "temporarily unavailable" (see screenshot below and inset).

The outage appears to have afflicted iPhone app users as well. I tried several times and was not able to connect. But, unfortunately, and here's a new downside for an app compared to a website, there is no way for the bank to warn users within the app that there's a back-end problem. So users just tried and tried to connect. 

Interestingly, text banking seemed to continue working, at least on the card side. During the outage I was able to retrieve the current balance and available credit via a text message to the bank's shortcode. That could be an interesting side benefit to text banking, "works if the website is down."

Lessons for Netbankers: There's no way to avoid the occasional tech glitch. The important thing is how you handle it. Today's salient lessons reveal how to communicate during downtime, scheduled or otherwise.

1. Homepage warning: The message on the website is crucial, and Chase does an okay job prominently posting a concise warning on the homepage. Sure, the bank could have been more specific, but when you are in the middle of an IT crisis, there often isn't a whole lot more that can be said. Still, they were tardy in pulling the "scheduled maintenance" excuse down.

Chase website grade = B-

2. Referrals to other channels: Some of the press reports quoted a Chase spokesperson referring users to the toll-free number as well as ATMs and branches where the systems were apparently working fine. The bank's website message should also have made those recommendations. Even if live operator support was hopelessly backed up, the bank should admit that and encourage customers to call the toll-free number to check balances and other activity. 

Chase website grade = F

3. Apologize and reassure: From crisis management 101: apologize first, then reassure customers and tell them what you are doing to fix the problem. Chase was doing little of that from what I can see. There was no apology. There was no real explanation. And there was no reassurance that your money was safe. The information void was left to be filled with tweets and blog-post speculation. (15 Sep update: When I logged in today for the first time since the outage, there was no mention of the problem. And oddly, my last login showed as having happened during the middle of the outage. I'm trying to figure out how that could be; perhaps from my attempted iPhone app login?)

Chase website grade = Incomplete (I'm sure it's coming, but it should have been visible today.)

4. Communications to mobile customers: If the mobile app is also down, you need to proactively send a message to app users explaining the situation. Conversely, if the mobile app or text messaging is working, refer Web customers to those channels.

Chase mobile grade = F (didn't see that message)

All in all, a bad day for Chase online banking. But a good learning opportunity for everyone else.


Chase Bank homepage with "unavailable" message (14 Sep 2010, 3:41 PM Pacific)

Chase Bank homepage with new

Online banking main page with unavailable message (14 Sep 2010, 3:41 PM Pacific)

Chase Bank online banking main page with unavailable message

1. According to various Twitter messages, Chase online banking went down at about 10 PM Eastern time on Monday, 13 Sep and came back online a few minutes ago (1:45 AM Eastern, 15 Sep, Wed.), a little under 28 hours.

Comments (3)

Chase Adds Mobile Remote Deposit Capture and P2P Payments to its iPhone App

By Jim Bruene on July 3, 2010 10:53 AM | Comments (2)

imageChase Bank rolled out a major new release to its iPhone app on Thursday (v. 2.3.1) with the addition of both remote deposit capture and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments (see inset). Chase is the first to support both those important features in its mobile app (note 1). This post covers remote deposit, and I'll look at the P2P feature later.

How it works
I had been looking forward to depositing a check via the magic of the iPhone. But sadly, despite following the directions and capturing a good image of the front and back of the check, the software failed to scan the amount correctly (see screenshot 7).

The Chase app said the check scanned in at $0, despite it being a printed $200 check. I was testing with my trusty version 1 iPhone (circa 2007), which may not have a sharp enough camera. I'll try it on a newer iPhone and update the post. 

Here's the process for new users (click on the thumbnails to view larger versions):

1. The Chase Quick Deposit service has been added to the main navigation bar across the bottom.

2. Customers agree to terms and conditions. Note: The service is limited to $1,000 per day and no more than $3,000 per month, eliminating many businesses as potential users.

3. On the first screen, users enter the dollar amount of the check.

4. The app provides instructions on how to successfully capture the check image.

5. Take pictures of the front and back of the check.

6. Double check image quality.

7. Error message saying that the dollar amount from the scan ($0) did not match the amount entered ($200).

Summary: Despite the glitch on my first deposit attempt, I'm glad to see Chase moving the mobile state-of-the-art forward. I'm sure we'll see remote deposit added to most major mobile banking apps in the near future.

1. Signup screen           2. Customer agreement  3. Enter amount

image    image    image

4. Hints on image capture   5. Photograph the check front and back

image    image

6. View photo results                             7. Error message

image       image

1. USAA was the first major bank with mobile remote deposit, launching it in Sep. 2009; while WV United FCU was the very first with it almost exactly one year ago.
2. For more on mobile banking and payments, see the most recent issue from Online Banking Report.

Comments (2)

Best of Web: Chase Launches Instant Action 2-Way Text Alerts

By Jim Bruene on June 3, 2010 9:30 AM | Comments (2)

imageobr_bestofweb It's been 13 years since email bank-account alerts first appeared in the United States (see note 1). And for 12.99 years, users have wished they could just reply back to the message to cover a checking account shortfall. 

Well finally, Chase Bank has delivered on that promise with real-time Chase Instant Action Alerts:

image    image

Chase account holders now receive real-time text-message alerts when their account drops below preset minimums. Customers can initiate funds transfers by texting back transfer instructions. Currently, transfers can be initiated only via text message.

While we would have been more impressed if the service covered the more common email alerts, the new feature does move the online/mobile banking state-of-the-art up a notch. That's enough to earn Chase the second OBR Best of the Web awarded in 2010 and the 77th all-time (notes 2, 3).

The bank is promoting the new feature via Google AdWords (see screenshots below). And, they've done a good job identifying the key benefit in the landing page title:

Avoid Overdrafts | Chase Instant Action Alerts

I don't see any mention of the new capabilities on the Chase homepage today, nor does it appear to be touted within online banking (note 4). However, a site-search for "alerts" drives users to the landing page shown below.

Advertising on Google search for "Chase email alerts"
(2 June 2010, 9 AM from Seattle IP)


Landing page (link)
Note: The top graphic is animated, showing how the alert and reply work (see images at the top of this post)


image 1. Signet Bank was the first major to offer email account alerts. We covered it in OBR 22 (Feb 1997). We didn't learn until a few months later that community bank Britton & Koontz actually beat Signet to market with alerts launched in the summer of 1996.
2. You could argue that Chase is not first with this capability. The handful of U.S. text-banking programs that support transfers are already offering the same capabilities as Chase (for example, see text commands at Natco Credit Union).  However, Chase is the first major bank to provide the functionality, as well as the first to really promote the reply-back function as a major benefit.
3. OBR Best of the Web awards are given periodically to companies that pioneer new online/mobile banking features, products, or enhancements. It is not an endorsement of the company or product, just recognition for what we believe is an important development that "raises the bar" in alt-delivery. Chase's Instant Action Alerts are the 77th recipient since we began the awards in 1997. It's the second for Chase. The bank also won in 2007 for being the first major U.S. bank to roll out text banking. For a list of the top innovations of all time, see our January 2010 Online Banking Report.
4. It was not mentioned within my business banking account or consumer credit card account. I don't have a Chase consumer checking account.
5. For more information on alerts and messaging, refer to this Online Banking Report published in 2003.

Comments (2)

Chase is First U.S. Bank with a Native iPad App

By Jim Bruene on May 5, 2010 8:04 PM | Comments (1)

Last week, Spain's BancSabadell and "la Caixa" became the first banks in the world with iPad apps. But the U.S. was still shut out until today, when Chase became the first U.S. bank with a native iPad app (iTunes link). It doesn't yet show in the Finance category of my iPad. But if I search for Chase, it appears as a download option.

imageIt successfully downloaded, and about 60 seconds later, I was looking at my Chase account. Unlike some banks, it was not necessary to activate the app in online banking. First-time users log in to the app with their online banking credentials. Then an 8-digit code is sent to a pre-existing phone number or email address. Users then enter this code into the iPad.

Chase's app is basically a stretched-out version of its iPhone app. But the extra real estate does make it easier to accomplish tasks, such as sending a bill payment (right screenshot). But the biggest initial benefit of the iPad app is all the blog posts and news articles it will generate. 

Chase is betting big on the iPad platform, taking a reported six-figure sponsorship of the NY Times iPad app (see inset, click to enlarge). The bank really had no choice but to support that advertising expense with a banking app of its own. Chase launched its iPhone app in Dec. 2008.

Chase Bank's native iPad app (5 May 2010)

image    image

Note: For more on mobile banking and payments, see the most recent issue from Online Banking Report.

Comments (1)

Chase Adds 2 Million Facebook Fans in $5 Million Charity Giveaway

By Jim Bruene on March 31, 2010 6:26 PM | Comments

image If a category existed for "corporate wins in social media" in the Guinness Book of World Records, Chase Bank would surely hold the top spot today. In its recently concluded effort, two million users became Facebook Fans of Chase Community Giving in order to direct $5 million in donations to their favorite charities. 

In round one, Chase fans were given 20 votes to parcel out among 500,000 eligible 501(c)(3) charities. First-round voting ended Dec. 12. The 100 charities with the most votes were declared finalists and moved into round two. Round two voting ended Jan. 22, 2010.

The winner was awarded $1 million; five runner-ups received $100,000 each; and 100 finalists received $25,000 each. The winning charity, Invisible Children, received more than 100,000 votes as did second place Isha Foundation. But anyone looking to recreate Chase's success should think carefully about the official rules. With less than 1200 votes separating the two charities, and with $900,000 at stake, there were accusations of voter fraud in the Chase contest. Future contests will likely give the bank some leeway in declaring a tie and splitting the pot equitably.

Relevance for Netbankers: If you still have social media naysayers in your company, give them the link to Chase's recap page (screenshot below). That ought to get their attention. 

Contest recap on Chase's Community Giving Facebook page (link, 31 March 2010)


Note: For more info on social media strategies for financial institutions, see our subscription site.


Chase Bank Invites Business Customers to Join Business Advisory Board

By Jim Bruene on January 19, 2010 8:30 PM | Comments

image I received an email this morning (see below) from Chase Bank inviting me to participate in a new Business Advisory Board, powered by Lightspeed Research. My colleague also received the same invite for his separate account, so it doesn't appear to have been a particularly selective emailing. Both accounts were acquired by Chase in the 2008 WaMu debacle.

To sign up, users simply complete a 10-question one-page online form (first part shown below in screenshot 2) which took just under six minutes (note 1).

After completing the registration, I expected to be ushered into some type of special club, but all I received was a 15-word paragraph telling me to confirm my email address (screenshot #3). That's a bit of a letdown after giving the bank nearly 10 minutes of my day. I surmised the big payoff would come after confirming and logging back in. 

I was wrong. After logging in, I was greeted with a short thank-you statement and an invitation to take the "welcome survey," which turned out to be three questions about the 2010 economic outlook (screenshot #4). And that was it. Nothing more to see or do. No blog. No "online community" (promised in email). No special offers (note 2). They didn't even have the courtesy to share the results from the survey I just took (note 3). I began to wonder if I'd been scammed.

Analysis: On the surface I love this idea: inviting customers to participate in an online advisory board. Customers like to be noticed and heard, and a chance to win $100 is icing on the cake. But if you intend to ask business customers to take 15 minutes out of their day, it better be for something real. So far, I just feel stupid for signing up and thinking that I was actually going to make a difference at the bank.

Hopefully, they'll make up for the bad start with interesting opportunities down the road. But the bank will have to work doubly hard to get my attention after this wasted effort. 

Email from Chase Business Banking (received 19 Jan. 2010, 1:55 PM Pacific)
Note: Highlighting mine


1. Landing page from email (link, 19 Jan. 2010)


2. Registration page (click to enlarge; link)
Note: Registrants are entered into a sweepstakes to win one of ten $100 prizes.


3. Registration thank-you screen


4. Three-question welcome survey is available after confirming your email address


1. Although the site says it's for business-banking customers of Chase and WaMu, it appears that anyone that finds the website can join.
2. Under the "Rewards" tab, information tantalizes regarding earning "cash, prizes, sweepstakes entries" for survey-respondents. But there are no examples or surveys available, so it's one more small letdown.
3. Business owners that read through the online FAQs will find out that they may be contacted one or two times per month with "research opportunities," but Chase shouldn't bury this key info in the FAQs where only a small percentage of users will find it.
4. See our recent Online Banking Report for more ideas on how to serve small- and micro-businesses through the online and mobile channels.


Chase Bank's Second iPhone App: Gift Planner

By Jim Bruene on November 24, 2009 7:02 PM | Comments (2)

imageA few days ago, we predicted there would be tens of thousands of financial institution iPhone apps as the big banks released dozens to support their major business lines. PNC Bank and Wells Fargo were the two examples we cited.

There's another multi-app bank: Chase. In our search for an iPhone gift planner to replace the web-based Zions Bank service, we ran discovered the bank's Gift Planner (iTunes link).

Version 1.0 was released in time for the holidays last year (3 Dec. 2008), but it looks like Chase didn't take over ownership/sponsorship until release 2.0 in August. The app is supported by an excellent small website at that displays the app and solicits feedback.

image The app and website are 100% Chase branded. The only indication that a third party is involved is a notation in the iTunes store that the app is sold by The Archer Group (inset), a Wilmington, DE-based digital agency.

Evidently, the app didn't show up on our radar because it's placed in the App Store Productivity category instead of Financial. The app doesn't appear to be mentioned on the Chase main website. A site search there came up blank.

Review: It's great looking app that can be used for any holiday. The app supports "shake for help," an advanced feature. The integration with your contact list makes it easy to add new contacts without typing, although you must wade through your entire list. And, the imageprocess of adding gifts is a bit tedious. You have to add a gift to the master gift list, then go to each person and add the gift to their profile. It would be better if you could simply type a gift on the fly.

iPhone users have been relatively unimpressed, giving the latest version a 2-star rating out of five; pretty low for a professional app (see inset).

It's a good branding tool for Chase, but it the app itself could use retooling.

Gift Planner iPhone screenshots (24 Nov 2009)

image   image   image

Gift Planner website (link)


Note: For more info on mobile banking on the iPhone see our March Online Banking Report.

Comments (2)

How Measly Online Banking Archives Almost Cost Us $300

By Jim Bruene on September 8, 2009 5:31 PM | Comments (3)

image One of my least favorite tasks as a business owner is filling out forms, and tax forms are the worst of the lot. Thankfully, Washington state has a relatively simple online form that I can complete at literally the last minute of the quarterly filing period.

So last week, with the midnight deadline looming, I went to download the previous quarter's transactions into our accounting software. After doing so, I noticed a six-week gap in the data. Because of timing issues, it had been 130 days since I'd last downloaded. Guess what? My bank archives only 90 days of data for Microsoft Money users (note 1).

So, I went online and figured I'd retrieve the older transaction there. No luck. Again, only 90 days of past data are visible in online banking. Next, I tried the data-download function. Nope, same 90-day limit. Now realizing that I'd have to hand-key the data, I was getting frustrated, but I figured I could at least view my April and May statements online. Strike 4. My bank doesn't post any estatements online UNLESS you've previously given up your paper statement.

So I had to paw through my paper piles to find the missing statements, then spend a half-hour hand-entering business transactions. Boy, did I feel like a fool. Luckily, I'd started the process earlier than usual and made the midnight deadline; otherwise, the lack of data archives would have cost me more than $300 in city and state penalties.

Fee opportunity for banks
Had I been a perfect customer and remembered to download my data within the 90-day window, this wouldn't have happened. But really, now that you can buy a 1TB (1000MB) hard drive for $79, how can a bank justify a measly 3-month archive, especially for business clients? Even factoring in security costs, backup sites and other expenses, what is the marginal cost to store 18 months of transaction data? A buck per year? Probably more like a dime or less (note 2).

It no longer makes sense to arbitrarily limit online data archives. Put a price on it and let your customers decide how long they want to store their data. Many small business customers would pay $1 to $2 per month per year of back archives. Interested consumers might pay half that, e.g., $3 to $5 per month for a 7-year archive.

It can also be used a perk for going paperless. For example, Chase Bank offers seven years of online statements for its customers (see screenshot below); otherwise, users can access only the last 18 months online.

Finally, it's one of the most cost-effective retention tools imaginable (note 3).

Chase Bank promotes the benefits of going paperless to its online banking users (1 Sep 2009)


1. The lack of past data is especially annoying since I pay $5.95/mo for the data download service.
2. I do understand that increasing online archives is not a simple project. And even though storage costs are relatively minimal, the PROJECT costs, are certainly not. I'm sure it's a multi-million effort that's difficult to justify in an era where regulatory mandates eat up IT budgets like a power surge gobbling data. 
3. For more info on estatements, refer to our Online Banking Report on Lifetime Statement Archives (June 2005) and Electronic Messaging & Statements (Feb 2003).

Comments (3)

Don't Waste the Marketing & Communication Benefits of an iPhone App Update

By Jim Bruene on August 31, 2009 4:29 PM | Comments

image I've written plenty about the importance of the iPhone App Store, both here and in Online Banking Report (note 1). But there's one subtle side benefit I hadn't thought too much about previously. 

Every time a new version of a native app is released, users must take action to download it if they want the new features. While this process used to be a nightmare in the desktop software days where users had to use floppy disks, CDs or large downloads to reinstall the software, it's an absolute breeze on the iPhone and usually takes less than a minute from start to finish. And there's no restarting the iPhone or choosing installation options. It's just a one-click process plus the input of your iTunes password if you weren't already logged in.

So why is this process a benefit? Because each time a new release is available a little icon shows on top of the App Store icon (see screenshot 1 below). Users then press the App Store icon, choose update, and they see a list of applications with updates available (screenshot 2). At that point users choose to update them all or look at them individually.

We believe most users are interested enough in their financial apps to take a look at the update, at least until the novelty of the mobile app wears off some years in the future. This provides financial institutions a free marketing opportunity to not only explain the new features of the app, but also deliver other marketing messages. You are much more likely to make an impression with your customers during the update process, compared to sending out a random marketing email.

In the three bank examples below, only USAA (screenshot 3) uses the opportunity to further cement its relationship with mobile customers, touting its new remote deposit capabilities along with several other enhancements. Wells Fargo (screenshot 4) takes a matter-of-fact, "we're fixing bugs" approach that is OK, but still misses the chance to communicate with users. But Chase (screenshot 5) completely annoys users with two sentences of marketing speak that says nothing about the update. 

Lessons for financial & mobile marketers: Whenever you release an update for your mobile app (note 2), take the opportunity to communicate with your customers as follows:

  • Clearly explain the benefits of the changes to the app
  • Highlight one or two related benefits of the app
  • Mention any related news or promotions
  • Strike a good balance between disseminating technical info and marketing new benefits


1. Main iPhone screen shows                        2. The Updates page shows the 4 apps
    that 4 app updates are                                       that have new versions available.
    available (right side halfway down).

image      image

3. USAA's latest update explains the specific changes made and provides several new benefits to using the app.


4 & 5. On the other hand, the Wells Fargo and Chase update messages are sparse. The Wells Fargo update appears to be a minor bug fix, so we'll cut them some slack for the terse message. However, Chase, with a minor update (2.0.1 update) to its major 2.0 release (released Aug 25), says absolutely nothing in 24 words of marketing-speak: 

We're listening -- You asked for a fully native iPhone banking application. This Chase iPhone app is built exclusively for iPhone and iPod touch users.

Seriously Chase, this is the best you could come up for the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of iPhone users waiting for your updated app? At least the bank gets points for brevity.

                   Screenshot 4                                                             Screenshot 5

image       image

1. For more info on the importance of a native iPhone app see Online Banking Report: Mobile Banking via iPhone.
2. The same advice holds true for communicating online banking improvements as well, although the communication methods are different (email, newsletter, statement insert, blog, interstitials, log-off messages, etc.).


Chase Bank Targets WaMu Overdrafters in Google Search Ads

By Jim Bruene on August 20, 2009 6:22 PM | Comments

image Someone's getting creative on Chase's search-engine marketing team. Look at the ad they placed on the RSS feed of a recent Payments News article (see first screenshot below, note 1). Using Google AdSense, the bank cleverly placed an ad against a story about Wells Fargo's same-day bill pay service.

Chase probably figures consumers reading about same-day payment capabilities might also have experienced problems with overdrafts in the past. But, I'm not sure why Chase used a call-to-action aimed at driving prospects to a branch:

Wamu Overdraft Forgiveness 
Help Take Control of your Finances. Find a Chase Branch Near You Today! (emphasis added)

Prospects that clicked through on the first ad landed on a microsite with a large branch finder at the bottom. This is a good microsite, although it doesn't directly mention taking control of your finances (see second screenshot).

Over at the main Google site, Chase used a pitch that seemed more likely to induce clicks (see third screenshot): 

Welcome to Chase
Chase Checking Alerts Help You Avoid Fees. Learn More Today!

These search ads were not displayed in searches today, so perhaps they were pulled after performing poorly.

Lesson: There's a lot of attention in the press these days about overdraft fees (see NY Times editorial today). If you have good tools to avoid them, especially mobile alerts, it might be an effective way to attract new customers.

And even though these particular ads may not have worked, it demonstrates that Chase is being creative in its search engine marketing efforts. The only way you can find what works in your market is by continuous trials (note 2).

Google ad on Payments News RSS feed (29 July 2009)


Chase landing page from ad shown above (link, 29 July 2009)


Google AdWords ad for "Wamu overdraft forgiveness" (29 July, 12 PM Pacific, from Seattle IP address)


1. Viewed in a soon-to-be-defunct NewsGator reader.
2. For more info on search engine marketing, see Online Banking Report: Searching for Customers 3.0 (March 2008).


New Online Banking Report Published: Online Account Opening

By Jim Bruene on June 23, 2009 11:26 PM | Comments

imageWe just completed our latest Online Banking Report. It will be mailed to subscribers this week.
It's also available online here. There's no charge for current subscribers; others may access it immediately
for US$495.


Improving Online Account Opening ROI
Ten strategies to increase online application conversion rates

102 pages (published 21 June 2009)

In this report (abstract PDF), we focus on ways to increase conversions and improve your results when opening financial accounts online or over a mobile phone.

clip_image002The online application is the new branch new-accounts desk. And, just as you provide ongoing support, training and incentives to branch-based sales staff, you must continually fine-tune your online sales process.

In our experience, this is an area that needs attention at most financial institutions. Things have greatly improved during the 10+ years we've been tracking online applications. However, during the research for this report, we reached dead-ends at three of the 10 applications tested (note 1). That just can't happen.

The report outlines a 10-step approach to improving the process: 

  • Direct users to the application
  • Set expectations
  • First things first
  • Guide customers
  • Bundle mobile access & alerts
  • Upsell
  • Fund
  • Ask for referrals
  • Stay in touch
  • Humanize the process

We reviewed the online applications of the following companies:

  • Bank of America
  • BECU (powered by uMonitor)
  • Capital One
  • Chase Bank
  • First Arkansas Bank & Trust (powered by FirstROI)
  • Flagstar Bank (powered by uMonitor)
  • HSBC Direct
  • Huntington Direct (powered by CashEdge)
  • M&I Bank
  • National City
  • Verity Credit Union (powered by Andera)
  • Wells Fargo
  • Zions Bank

Finally, a 10-year forecast for online account-opening volumes in the United States is presented.

M&I Bank has an attractive and informative application start page (9 June 2009)
Note: The online banking guarantee at the bottom is a good way to improve user trust.

M&I Bank online application start page

1. Granted, user error was the problem in two of the three failed apps; however, we weren't purposely trying to make mistakes. The online application should have provided assistance in correcting them, rather than leaving us hanging.


Chase Bank Pitches Credit Card Balance Transfers at Login

By Jim Bruene on June 23, 2009 12:16 AM | Comments

image Chase has great graphic design panache (see previous post here and here). As I was logging in to my account last week to see what the bank had done with a pesky $2 balance remaining from my payoff a month ago (see note 1), I was presented with an eye-catching offer to transfer a balance (see first screenshot below). 

The balance-transfer options weren't quite as enticing as they've been in the past:

  • 0.99% for six months plus 3% balance-transfer fee
  • 5.99% for a year plus 3% balance-transfer fee

This time last year, the 5.99% offer would have likely been for the life of the balance. However, under new regulations approved by Congress, where monthly payments must be allocated to the highest rates first, it no longer makes financial sense to offer a low rate for the life of the balance.

Note: Chase provided real-time chat support as I considered their balance-transfer offer (see second screenshot below).

Chase Bank's login interstitial (16 June 2009)


Chase offered online chat via a popup window


1. Kudos to the bank for automatically eliminating the $2 in extra interest accrued between the day I paid my balance in full online (at the Chase site) and when the payment posted. When I logged in I was afraid I might see a $39 late fee on the $2 remnant balance. 

2. For more info on post-login marketing, see our recent Online Banking Report on Selling Behind the Login.


Chase creates excellent transition site for Washington State consumers, but stumbles with online application

By Jim Bruene on June 3, 2009 8:12 PM | Comments (1)

image Chase Bank is sparing no expense in launching its brand in former WaMu strongholds, particularly Seattle, the previous headquarters of WaMu. The bank is remodeling the branches, hanging new signage, taking full-page ads in the Seattle paper, running radio spots, and bidding for the top spot on Google.

The Chase Washington State microsite is gorgeous, really impressive. The graphic design is eye-catching, serene, and uplifting. Chase's logo is superimposed where the sun would be, creating a nice effect and great first impression of the bank, which is new to Washington state (see screenshot 1 below).

While the website designer scores an A+, the online app gets an incomplete (as in, I couldn't get it to work), at least for the checking account I tried to purchase (note 2). 

My first issue with the application, and this is more of a nitpick, is the location of the compare accounts links. Chase lists four main checking choices plus two student-oriented accounts (see screenshot 2 below). Since the account names provide no help in selecting the right one, I looked for a way to compare accounts. But my eyes were drawn to the Get Details and Open now buttons, and I never saw the links in the upper right corner. Since most users will need help selecting the right checking account, the Compare option should be at least as prominent as the Get Details button.

The much bigger issue prompting me to write this article is that online account opening didn't work, at least for the account I selected, Chase Premier Platinum Checking. After completing the first page of the online app (see screenshot 3 below), I was greeted with a cryptic message telling me to visit a branch for help (see note 1). And this is from a bank introducing its name in a new market.

Lessons for financial institutions:

  • Make sure you test all the options in your online application (see note 3)
  • If there are valid reasons why you cannot open the account online, explain them to your customer in detail (and don't lead them to believe the account can be opened online if it can't)
  • Provide more options for help than just "visit your branch;" for example, online chat, telephone numbers, Web-based inquiry form, and a call-me button
  • APOLOGIZE and thank the customer for their application attempt. Chase does neither. The bank's entire message (see screenshot 4):

   Unable to Continue: We are unable to open a Premier Checking account
   online. Please visit your local Chase Branch for assistance.

1. Chase Bank's Washington-state transition site main page (1 June 2009)


2. Chase checking account options


3. First page of Chase's online loan application


4. Fail screen displayed after hitting next on previous screen 


1. I had selected "not a Chase customer" so I thought perhaps I was having trouble because the bank's cookie's showed me to be a Chase card holder. So I tried it on another machine, with the cookies erased, and the same thing happened.
2. The problem seems to be with Premier Platinum Checking. I was able to start the app process just fine with Chase Checking.
3. Chase isn't the only one with online account-opening problems. I am researching account opening for an upcoming Online Banking Report, and just today I reached a complete dead-end in the online application at a large credit union, and was forced to abandon the app late in the process, after I'd been through credit-bureau validation. 

Comments (1)

Chase Uses Branch-Based WaMu Checking Account Offer at Credit Card Login

By Jim Bruene on May 2, 2009 7:25 AM | Comments

image I spent the past few weeks looking at cross-selling efforts from within the secure online banking zone. But unfortunately, I came across the following example too late to be included in our report (see note 1). 

When I logged in to pay my Chase consumer credit card online (note 2), I was greeted with the following interstitial page (aka "splash screen") inserted before the main account-management area (see first screenshot).

Chase is offering a $125 incentive to open a WaMu-branded free checking account (note 3). This offer may have something to do with the fact that I'm located in Seattle, the former headquarters of WaMu. The same creative was used in a statement insert and a banner ad across the main account-management page (see third screenshot).


1. Serving "more info": In this example, Chase handles the info-serving process a bit differently than others I'd looked at recently. When selecting More Info on the splash screen, the bank opened a new tab (in Firefox 3) for the landing page (see second screenshot below). And while the user read the offer details on that page, the original tab automatically loaded the original destination (account management page), and the interstitial ad disappeared.

On the one hand, it's convenient for the user to be able to look at the offer details and then quickly navigate back to the area they were originally logging in to. However, for more experienced users expecting a pop-up screen that can be quickly closed after reading, it can be momentarily confusing. There's a risk the user will inadvertently close the entire browser session by clicking the upper-right "x," necessitating an annoying restart and re-login.  

I'm not sure there's a single right answer, but another variable worth testing - something I'd prefer - is a popup running in a smaller window in front of the original Chase page.

2. Branch-only fulfillment: I was surprised to see the offer can be redeemed only in branch. There is no way to sign up online. The landing page is actually actually a coupon users are encouraged to print with the page-dominating blue "print" button (see second screenshot below).

I can understand the rationale for pushing people into branches where they can be upsold other services. But in this quick-start age, I'm surprised there isn't at least an option to apply online. Perhaps this is a test to see how a branch-only offer compares to online-only ones.

Chase Bank splash screen (interstitial) immediately after login
(30 April 2009, 1:40 PM Pacific)


Landing page/coupon (opens in second tab in Firefox 3)


My Accounts page


1. The results are compiled in our latest Online Banking Report: Selling Behind the Password
2. Tiny rant: I owed $2.45 left over from some extra finance charge even though I paid my bill in full online last month. It's not so much that Chase didn't earn the $2, that's fine. What's irritating is that they made me pay it right away by setting my min payment to $2.45. Come on Chase, I've had this account since the 1990s, you can float me the $2 until the next time I have a charge.
3. Interestingly, I already have a small business checking account at WaMu. Either the bank's householding algorithm missed it, or Chase is making the offer to everyone in my Zip, or it still wants me to open a personal account to go with my biz one.


Chase Bank, Mint Top the Charts with New iPhone Apps

By Jim Bruene on December 22, 2008 10:17 AM | Comments (1)

imageimage No one knows for sure how Apple compiles the list of its top-selling iPhone apps, but it's related to how many are sold during the past few hours. I've seen speculation that the measurement period is 2 hours (see note 1).

But there is no doubt about the benefits of rising to the top. The winner receives prime exposure in the iTunes Store and on the iPhone itself (see screenshots below).

I've checked the Finance category rankings dozens of times since the store opened in July, and the top app had always been Bloomberg with Bank of America usually the runnerup.

But Friday, a new top seller emerged in the Free list in the Finance category (note 2), Chase Mobile  while Bloomberg and BofA were each knocked down a spot to numbers 2 and 3. The Chase app was released just one week ago (12 Dec). But by Saturday morning (20 Dec), Chase had already been replaced at the top by online personal finance startup Mint, which released its iPhone app Monday (15 Dec), but it didn't show up in the iTunes store until 1 AM Friday.  Mint stayed at the top all weekend and is still number one now (10 AM Pacific, 22 Dec).

imageIn the screenshot below and right, you can see the free publicity derived from holding the top spot. Also, note that you should put your name into the application. Bank of America, ranked number 3, neglected to include its name in the title, so it loses some branding value. Although, they would have to use BofA to fit into the space.  

Chase App (link to iphone App)
The Chase app itself is attractive and is similar to Bank of America's with a login button to the website and an ATM/branch-finder utility. As of this evening, 64 reviews have been posted with an average 3.5-star rating out of five, slightly better than the 3-star rating of Bank of America's iPhone app with similar features.

Mint App (link to iPhone app)
As expected from a company that is carefully using design to help distinguish it from the pack, Mint's new app is great looking. Across all aggregated accounts, the mobile app shows account balances, transactions, and progress towards budget goals. A nifty alerts icon on the bottom provides a convenient way for users to keep tabs on important info on the go.

Another difference from most banking apps: Mint lets users choose whether they want password protection enabled after their initial login. If you choose to log out, then the app erases all data in memory, and you must log back in next time. If you choose not to log out, then your data remains visible until the next visit with no login required (note 4). This is a great convenience, but something that may not be allowed at regulated financial institutions.

Some users have reported trouble with the app on older phones. On my first-generation iPhone running version 2.1 software, the Mint app wouldn't download. But once I upgraded the iPhone software to version 2.2, it downloaded flawlessly and all functions worked perfectly. In Mint's forum, some users were reporting problems with the Budget feature, but it seems to work fine for me (forum thread) (note 3).

Top Apps in the finance category of iTunes' App Store
(7 PM Pacific, 19 Dec 2008) 


 Top free finance apps list displayed on iPhone:
          at 7 PM Pacific, Fri. Dec. 19                               at  2 PM Pacific, Sat. Dec. 20  image        image

Chase Mobile iPhone app                    Mint iPhone app main screen
main screen
(19 Dec 2009)                          (19 Dec 2009)

image       image

1. That 2-hour window could be about right. When I made this screenshot, the new Mint app was at number 10; two hours later (9 PM) it had risen to number 5 (see screenshot above). By 9 AM Saturday morning (20 Dec) it had risen to number 1.

2. The App Store divides the top apps into two categories, free and paid. The top 20 free apps are listed on the right side and the top 20 paid apps are listed on the left. The apps in the middle are listed by newest first.

3. These operating system incompatibilities, a real problem in pre-1995 online banking services, had largely been left behind when banks embraced the Web in the mid-1990s. Unfortunately, mobile banking will add to your tech-support costs. 

4. Mint also reminds users that they can choose to lock their entire iPhone for extra security.

5. For more info on the market, see our Online Banking Report on Mobile Banking

Comments (1)

Chase Bank Offers to Lower Auto Payments by $44

By Jim Bruene on November 13, 2008 6:24 PM | Comments (1)

image It's a sign of the times. Instead of creating interest in auto loans by showing a sexy new convertible on a windy seaside road, Chase offers to help customers stay in their same vehicle with a lower monthly payment (see today's homepage below).

Interestingly, the $44 number in the headline is the actual average savings to Chase auto loan refinance customers in August (see note 1 for how Chase calculated the savings). That makes the whole ad much more believable than the usual what-if scenario.

Instead of burying that key fact in the fine print on the bottom of the landing page (second screenshot), Chase should make it the main headline of the landing page. The bank could go "social" with it by adding testimonials, a blog or forum, calculators (how about one for the iPhone?), a Facebook page, sweepstakes and even a scrolling activity ticker showing actual refinance savings as they happen, much like the Progressive auto insurance quotes (see note 2).

It's not going to help Detroit much, but it's smart marketing for the pre-holiday period. A $44 lower monthly payment translates into $500 in annual savings, enough to put a little something extra under the tree this year.

Chase Bank homepage (13 Nov 2008)


Landing page pop-up
(13 Nov 2008)



1. Derivation of the $44 savings:

Monthly savings figure is for illustration purposes only. $44.43 is the average monthly amount saved by customers who lowered their rate by refinancing their auto loans with Chase during the period from 7/25/08 to 8/21/08 on which we have the information to determine savings. These customers started with an average balance of $17,500, with an average remaining term of 49 months at an average Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 10.50% and refinanced on average for 53 months at an average new APR of 7.31%.

2. An activity ticker is one of our top-rated projects for next year as published last week in our Online Banking Report 2009 Planning Guide.

Comments (1)

Visa Announces Android and P2P Mobile Initiatives

By Jim Bruene on September 25, 2008 11:05 AM | Comments (1)

image Visa today put a stake in the ground to be viewed as the innovation leader, a position that American Express has claimed for some time with its chip cards, social media efforts, and even an online lab site. At today's "innovation briefing" in NYC, Visa announced several pilots and upcoming initiatives.

Mobile person-to-person transfers
The most far-reaching announcement was the ability for Visa cardholders to transfer funds from one card to another via mobile device. So far, just one bank is participating in the pilot. US Bank says it will make the service available to a few thousand cardholders as a test later this year. PaymentsNews has more details here.

It sounds good, but as always the devil is in the details. For instance:

  • Through what hoops will cardholders have to jump to enable their card and phone for the service?
  • Will the transfers be treated as cash advances triggering fees and finance charges?
  • Will it be available to all cardholders using any mobile phones? 

Visa jumps on the android bandwagon
A more immediate innovation is a location-and-alert-based service built for Google's android platform, a new mobile system launching in late October. Visa's new service, to be rolled out initially by Chase Bank (no time frame given), promises some important new developments:

  • "Near real-time" purchase alerts (see note 1) so you can see immediately whether your server added an extra digit in front of your tip on that bar tab. The real-time alert pilot was announced a month ago (here) involving several thousand accounts at PNC Bank, SunTrust Bank, US Bank, Wachovia, Wells Fargo, Royal Bank of Canada, TD Bank, and Vancity.
  • Visa merchant finder based on your location-based/GPS technology  (nice!) with targeted marketing offers (hmmm??). The merchant locations will be integrated with Google Maps.

Again, PaymentsNews has the entire press release here.

1. Visa says that the alerts will arrive "typically before (the consumer) leaves the store."

2. For more information, see our Online Banking Report on Mobile Money & Payments.

Comments (1)

Mobile Banking Uptake: Bank of America Closing in on 1 million Mobile Users

By Jim Bruene on May 14, 2008 5:01 PM | Comments

Bank of America iphone mobile bankingIn its latest quarterly financial results (here), Bank of America said it signed up 224,000 new users during the quarter to bring its active mobile banking base to 840,000. Assuming the 75,000/mo pace continues through second quarter, the bank should be over 900,000 now and will surpass 1 million in the next few weeks.

Although it's a nice milestone, it's only 4% of the bank's 23+million active online banking users (here). Given that mobile is pushed frequently in the bank's online banking area, one could argue that 4% adoption is pretty anemic. But according to M:Metrics, less than 14% of U.S. mobile phone users accessed info via the mobile Web in February. So 4% of a 14% universe is much more impressive, indicating the bank has tapped almost 1/3 of the short-term potential for mobile Web-based services, a good start.

To really goose adoption, text-based solutions may need more emphasis (see Chase screenshot below). According to M:Metrics, U.S. text users outnumbered mobile Web users almost 4 to 1 in February, 110 million to 30 million.

Industry forecast update
These adoption rates are about what we expected. In the forecast published a year ago in our Online Banking Report on Mobile Banking, we were relatively bearish short term, projecting 900,000 mobile users by year-end 2007 growing to 2.5 million by the end of 2008.

With BofA reporting 840,000 and assuming they have about half of all users, the U.S. market has likely already passed the 1.5 million mark and will end the year at more than 3 million.

The adoption rate depends on how hard banks push mobile options. Along with BofA, Chase has been one of the most aggressive, showing mobile use in its advertising for several years now (previous coverage here). I love its "Text your account. It texts you back." Just seven words conveying more than most 3-minute demos.


Chase Bank Text Mobile banking

Chase Goes with SMS for Mobile Banking

By Jim Bruene on September 10, 2007 5:58 PM | Comments (1)

The virtual-ink had barely dried on our substantially lowered forecast for SMS banking adoption in the U.S. (here; check out the comments as well), than the ever-aware Brandon McGee had the scoop that Chase, the third-largest U.S. bank, had quietly made SMS banking available to its customers.

We still don't know if it's a market test, or a full-blown launch, but we do know that this puts SMS back on the table again in the United States. Here's the bank's clever tagline:

Text Your Account. It Texts You Back.

Although Chase hasn't yet linked its SMS banking to the home page, it's not too hard to find at <>.

Note: For more on SMS and other types of mobile banking, see our full Online Banking Report on the subject here.

Comments (1)
Categories: Chase Bank, Mobile Banking

Free Checking in the Internet Age

By Jim Bruene on July 6, 2007 3:15 PM | Comments (1)

Bank of America and Chase, two of the three largest U.S. banks, are putting an online spin on free checking offers using online banking, security, and other benefits to encourage applications. On the surface, Bank of America's approach appears much more effective. And with no direct-deposit requirement, it surely generates more new accounts. However, without knowing how the free accounts convert to profitable relationships, it's impossible for an outsider to recommend one approach over another.    

Bank of America
Bank of America's free checking offer (see note 1) is difficult to overlook (screenshot below).  The top-of-the-page banner has animations that showcase the major benefits:

  • online banking
  • bill payment
  • "Keep the Change" debit card savings program
  • SiteKey security

The teaser "We're redefining Free Checking" creates interest while the bright blue "open an account" and "special online-only offer" further entice prospect to click through the banner.

BofA home page with free checking offer

The landing page (screenshot below) reiterates the online benefits and features a large laptop to reinforce the high-tech nature of the account. Two additional benefits are added to the list:

  • Free debit card with security protections
  • Free ATM access at 17,000 BofA machines 

BofA free checking landing page


1. The free checking banner appeared in a visit to the homepage from a Seattle IP address at 10 AM Pacific time today. It did not appear on afternoon searches from several computers.

2. The bank uses a live chat popup after lingering on the application for a short time (click on image right for closeup).

Chase Bank
Chase's homepage banner uses the "kitchen sink" approach with an image of an ATM machine, debit card, paper checkbook, laptop, and PDA along the top. The mobile phone is a good addition, but the ATM machine and laptop are so small, they aren't easily recognizable in a quick scan (see screenshot below).

Another problem: the paper checkbook, which is centered and slightly larger than the others, seems to get an inordinate amount of attention. I'm not sure that the checkbook or the debit card add much value. U.S. consumers pretty much realize those are included in a checking account.

Chase's landing page leaves a lot to be desired. The benefits are listed in small, gray type that is relatively hard to read. And the only call to action, if you can describe it as one, is the last line in small blue type, with an underlined "apply online." No buttons + no color + no large font + no offer = no interest.  

Comments (1)

Long-term Archive Update: Chase Credit Cards Provides Six Years

By Jim Bruene on May 10, 2007 5:05 PM | Comments (2)

The folks at Chase Bank were on the ball today. Less than an hour after I wrote about Whitney Bank joining the long-term statement archive club (here), I received an email from a subscriber* at Chase letting me know they offer six years of online statements for credit cards. 

Below is the bank's announcement to cardholders. It's nicely designed with a green touch. And it reminds cardholders they will receive an email both when the statement is ready and when payment is due. And note the call to action: "TRY" paperless. That lets customers know they can always go back. Now that's the way to get fired up about saving trees, and the bank's cash. The only thing missing: a simple guarantee.

Grade: We score it an "A" 

Chase has been working hard to move customers out of paper. So far this year, the bank has run a $35,000 sweeps to go paperless (see post here) and they currently have a popup on the credit card homepage pitching estatements (see screenshot below).

January 2007 email to Chase credit card customers

Email to credit card customers pitching electronic statements

Popup at credit card site

Popup pitching paperless statements at Chase's credit card page

*He earns a Starbucks card for his responsiveness. Anyone else have five or more years of statements online? Add your comments or email me.

Comments (2)

Chase Advertises Security Alerts in the NY Times

By Jim Bruene on March 14, 2007 6:30 PM | Comments

Chase ad in New York Times featuring mobile security alerts

Once again (previous post here), Chase used a three-quarter page color ad in the front section of the New York Times (p. 17, National Edition) to showcase its alert services (see partial screenshot right). The ad shows a man relaxing in the stands at some type of sporting event, Yankee Stadium perhaps.

The camera looks over his shoulder, focusing in on the image displayed on his Treo smartphone, which says "SECURITY ALERT" in large white letters on a light-blue background.

You had to feel for this poor guy, jarred from his leisure time with an urgent missive from the bank. Within a few seconds, three things likely crossed his mind: 

1. What the (expletive deleted)? Pretty poor timing to be interrupted at a baseball game with a security alert from the bank (which, these days is 99.9% likely to be a false positive, or a phishing attempt, see number 2).

2. Is this even from Chase? How do I know it's not a new kind of mobile phishing attach (mishing?). Should I ignore it? Does my liability go up if I don't respond immediately?

3. Now what? Can I click the message and find out if this was just a notification that I'd used my debit card to buy beer at a Yankees game, something I'd never done before, or has someone just transferred my 401k to a numbered account in the Jersey Islands? Or will I have to excuse myself and make a voice call, spending the 6th and even part of the 7th inning, talking to a Chase CSR, who may not even have enough info to explain why I got the alert? 

The ad demonstrates the pitfalls of using a very negative attribute, security breaches, in marketing your brand. But despite the uncomfortable thoughts that come to mind, we think it's an effective ad because it grabs attention and positions Chase as caring for the financial security of its customers. However, given that Chase's actual alerts look nothing like this, it's a bit of a stretch. I suppose they're allowed a bit of creative license; it's advertising after all. 

We'll give it an A-


In 2006, 86% of credit card direct mail included online options

By Jim Bruene on March 5, 2007 11:13 AM | Comments (4)

Advertising-monitoring firm, Mintel Comperemedia reported last week that nearly 9 out of 10 credit card solicitations in 2006 directed recipients to the Web, up sharply from 56% in 2003 (see note 1, 2). Several big mailers, namely American Express, still seem reluctant to use website response as an option, at least in the mailers we see at our house.

American Express tests must show a drop in response by offering too many choices. But if you don't have the budget of American Express, which can afford to drop a mail piece in every credit-worthy household every two or three weeks, you should add website options to your direct mail creative. That way, you can at least capture a lead at your website, even if they don't ultimately accept your credit offer. 

Total mailing volume for 2006 was 9.2 billion pieces (see note 1), or about 3 per week per credit-worthy household. Two of those were from the five largest mailers listed below which accounted for more than 60% of the volume, according to Comperemedia. JPMorgan Chase accounted for 18% on its own. 

In another data slice from Comperemedia, cited by Capital One in a Feb. 2006 investor presentation (PDF here), response rates have fallen from 1.4% in 1995 to 0.3% in 2004 (see note 3).

Here's a breakdown of the billion-piece club, and their percent change compared to 2005:  

1. Chase >>> 1.7 billion (down 4%)

2. Capital One >>> 1.2 billion (up 13%)

3. American Express >>> 1 billion

4. Citibank >>> 980 million (down 2%)

5. Bank of America/MBNA >>> 920 million (down 17%)

Other top-10 mailers: HSBC (up 25%); Discover (up 29%); Barclays Bank (190 million, up 70%)


1. Comperemedia tracks mailing volume for more than 150 large financial institutions. So the figures here do not include mailings from thousands of smaller banks and credit unions. In total, those probably account for less than 5% of the total from the top-150. 

2. Comperemedia press release is here. Interview of Comperemedia director Jenny Roock by MediaPost is here.

3. Credit card response rate slide from Capital One's investor presentation (PDF) at the Debt & Equity Conference, Feb. 2006; data from Comperemedia.

Credit card industry response rates

Comments (4)

Chase Bank's $25,000 Sweeps for Going Paperless

By Jim Bruene on February 14, 2007 9:48 AM | Comments

Chase Bank paperless sweepstakes logo Habits are hard to break. After 5, 10, 20 or more years of receiving paper statements, most mainstream banking and credit card users are reluctant to give them up.

Long-term online statement and transaction archives are key to creating paperless customers. But you'll still need an incentive to get most customers to move their mouse over to the "go paperless" button.

Chase Bank devotes prime homepage real estate, and $35,000 in prize money, to the effort today in a sweepstakes aimed at convincing customers to shut off their paper statements (see screenshot below). Every customer enrolled in electronic statements receives one entry per month through April in the contest which pays a $25,000 grand prize plus ten $1,000 runner-up prizes. 

It's a good effort, but with $100 million or more in annual savings at stake, why stop the sweepstakes after just three months. A $1,000 prize should be awarded each month, or each week, for many years as the banking giant weans its customer base off paper.

Also, Chase should be more specific on the amount of statement storage available online. The landing page is vague, saying one can "gain access to several years of statements." What does "gain access" mean? Do you have to request old statements for future delivery or are they right there so that on April 14th, you can find that final piece of your tax return puzzle. Even checking the online banking area of the website won't answer that question. It merely says you can print 90 days' worth of transactions. This isn't enough reassurance to those reluctant to give up the paper trail.

Chase homepage (14 Feb 2006):

Chase Bank homepage with paperless statement sweepstakes CLICK TO ENLARGE

Sweepstakes landing page (14 Feb. 2006):

Chase Bank paperless sweepstakes landing page CLICK TO ENLARGE


Chase Attracts New Users with Catchy Button but Loses them on the Enrollment Form

By Jim Bruene on February 9, 2007 10:24 PM | Comments

Over the years, Chase Bank has made impressive design improvements on its homepage (see note 1). One thing they do better than most is attract the attention of their non-online banking customers.

A large blue square surrounding an orange button beckons users to "Get a User ID" (see inset). It's well positioned in the prime upper-left corner, and it has the ubiquitous "Web 2.0" orange working for it.

Unfortunately, after clicking the button you are transported back in time to a page virtually devoid of color and design (see screenshot below). In addition, the form immediately asks for info that many users may not want to reveal (SSN) or may not have access to at the moment (account number). 


  1. Redesign the page to make it more appealing.
  2. Add prominent links to customer service for help.
  3. Ask only easy questions on the first page: name and email address is enough to 
    engage the applicant and provide enough info for followup if the
    application is abandoned. 

Chase Bank first pag of online banking enrollment CLICK TO ENLARGE


1. Here's the homepage today (left) vs. the busy look four years ago (20 Nov. 2002

Chase homepage 9 Feb 2007Chase homepage 20 Nov 2002 CLICK TO ENLARGE




Chase Fails to Design Email for Outlook's Preview Pane

By Jim Bruene on November 9, 2006 9:56 AM | Comments

More than 70% of business-email users view most or all of their email messages in the preview pane.* Depending on screen size, resolution, and window sizing, the real estate available in the preview pane can be relatively small.

When designing messages, be sure to put the most important information in the upper-left corner to maximize visibility in the preview pane.

Here is a poorly designed email Chase sent to confirm posting of a credit card payment. It requires users to scroll right to view Chase's logo and log-in button. Here's how it looks on my 12-inch laptop screen running at 1024 x 768:

What not to do from Chase:

Chase email alert

Better design from Bank of America graphics flush left:

Bank of America email alert CLICK TO ENLARGE

(Note: BofA shows the last four digits of your account number; we changed them to xxxx in the screenshot above.)

Action Items
Even though it's just a routing email message, the poor layout makes it look like a phishing message. Chase could clean this up with just a few minutes of programming work. While they are at it, they should add a personal greeting and additional text disclosures to make it look less phishy. 

*For more information, read our Online Banking Report #129/139, Email Marketing for Financial Services.


Chase Bank Pioneers New Advertising Outlet

By Jim Bruene on February 21, 2006 9:58 AM | Comments

ImagesIn a novel advertising gimmick, Chase Bank affixed two-foot long banners, each pointing to one of 90 electrical outlets in the Indianapolis International Airport. The unique signage, which also includes four months of exposure on in-terminal flight-information monitors, will cost the bank $65,000 for the year, or just under $200 per day.

The signs and slogans are designed to appeal to traveling businesspeople. They include:

This outlet works. Now you can too.

You and your laptop may sigh with relief now.

Congratulations. You found a charge chair.

We'll leave the question of cost effectiveness of "outlet advertising" to the outdoor advertising pros. However, similar tactics could be used throughout a community to market online banking and small business services to users of WiFi-equipped cafes and coffee shops. For example, a bank could sponsor a WiFi directory that included names, locations, and hours of WiFi-equipped locations throughout town. For extra credit, include a map of electrical outlets, desired by many laptop owners so they don't have to worry about having to rely on their batteries which are drained relatively quickly when going online.

Most coffee shops aren't going to want a bank slapping advertising stickers on their walls. However, tent cards or brochures carrying the bank's logo could provide WiFi instructions and locations of wall outlets.

With summer just a few months away, this would be a perfect task for a summer intern. Working with existing WiFi directories, the intern could scout out possible locations, map the electrical outlets, document contact information at each location, and post it all to the bank's website. Alternatively, a bank could contract directly with an existing locator service to carry the bank's advertising message.



Chase Launches Overnight Check

By Jim Bruene on October 25, 2005 2:14 PM | Comments

Chase_overnightcheck Question: What do you call a service that delivers a single consumer payment via fuel-hungry trucks and jets while requiring six or more highly paid technicians and drivers to get the job done?   

Answer: An online banking innovation featured in a page-dominating ad on Chase's homepage today (click to view screenshot, links will not work).

The service, originally launched by Chase's Bank One unit in January, is now available to all Chase online banking customers. Customers initiate payments online and UPS does the heavy-lifting, ensuring they arrive by the end of the following business day. Cost is $14.99 per payment which can be tracked via the UPS tracking number. Cut-off time is a user-friendly 10 pm eastern time.

We like the service, even if the delivery mechanism of dead trees and fossil fuels is positively archaic. But given the realities of our complex payment and accounts receivable systems, it's better than the alternative, a $39+ late fee and loads of additional interest. At least this way the user avoids getting in his/her car and spending a half-hour overnighting the payment themselves. And we applaud Chase for making the service available online.

However, despite the clever name and appealing graphic (see inset above); we have to question the homepage ad placement. For a marginally profitable service that appeals to a small niche of the truly disorganized online bankers (I qualify), that's a LOT of screen real estate. One can only hope it's only posted for a short time.

Chase_overnightcheck_pageSurprisingly the page that actually explains the service (click on inset for closeup), is sparse and virtually devoid of marketing punch. Anyone clicking on the homepage ad must wonder what the big deal is. If you decide to scream about a new feature on your homepage, make sure you at least spring for a Flash demo and/or thorough documentation of its benefits.


Categories: Chase Bank, Epayments

Bank Websites Should Provide Secure Connections to Legitimate Fund-Raising Sites

By Jim Bruene on September 1, 2005 11:31 AM | Comments

Wachovia_homepage_graphicWhen natural disasters strike, such as the Southeast Asia tsunamis or Monday's Hurricane Katrina destruction in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, banks should use their considerable web reach to help their customers make safe and secure donations to sanctioned relief agencies such as the Red Cross.

With all the concern about online phishing and fraud, consumers need a trusted conduit to make donations. And the sooner the link is posted, the better. As bad as it is, for much of the country, it will no longer be top-of-mind in a few days or weeks.

Major banks fail to respond thus far
Granted its only been three days, but we were surprised to find that of the largest 50 U.S financial institutions only three, Chase ( and, Wachovia ( and, and Washington Mutual (, have posted links to the Red Cross to make online donations (see Wachovia banner above).

Seven others had hurricane-related information, but no links for donations:
- Regions, AmSouth, Navy FCU, Compass Bank, and of course New Orleans-based Hibernia all had information on branch closings
- USAA posted tips for dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane
- Commerce Bank (NJ) ran a headline ticker on the top of the homepage offering to match donations up to a total of $50,000 (which strikes us as bit stingy if you are going to blast it across your homepage)

Action Items
The best response, from a customer service and PR perspective, is to announce a corporate contribution and provide secure links to the Red Cross and other relief agencies. Contributions should also be accepted via mail or in-branch.

Wachovia_redcross_1Wachovia does it right, with a small, but highly visible homepage link explaining its efforts and providing the important message, You Can Too (see inset above). Clicking on the link leads users to a landing page that explains Wachovia's $250,000 corporate commitment along with two important links (click on inset for a closeup look):
1. Donate Now link to a Red Cross store established on Yahoo handle Katrina donations
2. Email this page to spread the word

Even if your bank is not prepared to make a corporate contribution, it can still support fund-raising efforts with a link to the official donation site.



Chase Ends Last Major Experiment with Scan-and-Pay Bill Management

By Jim Bruene on June 17, 2005 12:02 PM | Comments

PaytrustEffective Monday, Chase Bank will end its four-year experiment with so-called scan-and-pay bill payment (download the email announcement below). Popularized in 1999-2000 by Cyberbills,, and PayTrust, the service allowed users to have their mailed bills redirected to the service provider where they were scanned and posted to a website. Users were alerted to the new bills and could pay them through a variety of methods.

Download final email announcing the termination of Chase Bank's "Premium Plan" total bill management service

As demand failed to materialize, the three service providers all ended up under Metavante ownership. Last year, Metavante sold the remaining PayTrust business to Intuit. Chase was the only major bank to offer the service, using it as the premium option in a three-level product line (see OBR 82, p. 8).

This is a service that sounds great on paper, but is too complicated for the benefits provided. Winning electronic bill payment services need to provide quick payback with a minimal learning curve. That's what so nice about CheckFree's new system that allows users to add a new biller by simply entering the biller's phone number.

While the few users who took the trouble to redirect their bills and set-up automated payments were quite satisfied, it was just too much trouble for all but a fringe group of highly-organized computer-savvy types, the kind of person who is a long-term user of Quicken. So it makes a lot of sense that the sole remaining provider of the service is Intuit.



Categories: Chase Bank, Epayments

2004 Online Financial Services Ad Spending

By Jim Bruene on June 7, 2005 2:54 PM | Comments

JP Morgan Chase and Citibank led all banking and lending companies in online ad spending according to the most recent American Banker survey of financial services spending (May 2005).

Chase’s $50 million in online advertising was 21% of its entire advertising expense, the highest among major banks, and considerably above the 11% online share across all financial services companies. In comparison, Citi’s $49 million spent online was only 9% of its total advertising expense, slightly below the industry average.

NetBank, the 16th biggest online advertiser, was the percentage leader, funneling all but $100,000 of its $4.9 million in advertising into online initiatives. Two other major online advertisers spent more than half their money online last year: ING Direct spending 60% of its $40 million total online, and MBNA spending more than half its $14 million online.

Lending Tree, Quicken Loans, HSBC, Sovereign and East-West Mortgage all devoted about one-third of their advertising into the online channel.

Top-20 Financial Institutions Online Advertisers*
2004 Online Advertising (% of total advertising)*
1. JP Morgan Chase  $50 million (21%)
2. Citigroup              $49 million (9%)
3. American Express $28 million (9%)
4. Bank of America    $25 million (9%)
5. ING Direct            $24 million (60%)
6. Lending Tree        $22 million (31%)
7. Ameriquest           $16 million (13%)
8. Quicken Loans       $10 million (33%)
9. Wells Fargo           $9.2 million (14%)
10. HSBC                  $8.3 million (39%)
11. MBNA                  $7.0 million (51%)
12. Wachovia            $6.3 million (7%)
13. E-Loan                $6.1 million (21%)
14. NetBank              $4.8 million (98%)
15. Discover             $4.7 million (6%)
16. GM                     $3.8 million (4%)
17. Royal Bank          $3.2 million (12%)
18. Sovereign           $2.8 million (33%)
19. East-West Mtg.    $2.7 million (32%)
20. WAMU                $1.9 million (2%)

*Banking, Lending, Mortgage, or Credit Card segments only, does not include online brokerage, insurance, or investments.

If you look at the brokerage and mutual fund category, the spending accelerates. Four online brokers Ameritrade ($65 million), Scottrade ($63 million), Schwab ($58 million), and E*Trade $52 million) each outspent even the largest financial institution, and Netstock Direct ($32 million) outspent all but Citi and Chase.

Top-10 Brokerage & Mutual Funds

2004 Online Advertising (% of total advertising)

1. Ameritrade   $65 (64%)

2. Scottrade     $63 (87%)                              

3. Schwab        $58 (35%)                              

4. E*Trade        $52 (77%)                              

5. Netstock       $32 (99%)                              

6. Harrisdirect  $24 (78%)                              

7. Vanguard      $12 (31%)                              

8. TD Bank        $10 (17%)                              

9. Fidelity        $5.3 (4%)                               

10. T.Rowe Price $3.8 (5%)

Download the Excel file with more details.    




Password Procedures at 15 Financial Institutions

By Jim Bruene on April 8, 2003 7:23 PM | Comments

Using our live test accounts, we changed passwords then subsequently “forgot” the new one to test how major financial institutions handle the situation. Overall, most received good marks, although everyone has room for improvement.  



Table 1

Password Scorecard

Safe Practices




Use a third password or challenge question




Disable Internet Explorer AutoComplete




Require 4 or more characters in passwords




Bank determines username




Require more than account number and social security number for online password reset




Send confirmation of password change to email address




Send confirmation of online password reset to email address




Send confirmation of password reset to mail address




Allow more than 3, but less than 11 unsuccessful password attempts*




Warn users in advance of account lockup




Source: Online Banking Report, 4/03
*We believe users should have at least 5 login attempts, with clear instructions before and after lockout


Testing process

1. Login with existing username and password

2. Change password or username

3. Logout

4. Use online password reset if available

5. Attempt to log back in 10 times with an incorrect password



American Express


Password Scorecard

Grade: Needs improvement

(1) Browser AutoComplete function not disabled
(2) No email confirmation of password change
(3) Account lockout too quickly, after third login try

Password structure: User defined, 6 to 8 characters with at least 1 letter and 1 number

Username structure: 5 to 20 characters with
at least 1 letter

Second password/challenge: No

IE 6 AutoComplete disabled: No

Online password change: Yes, with old password

Email confirmation of password change/reset: No

Online password reset: Yes, with card number, 4-digit card ID (on face of card), work phone number, last 4 digits of soc, and 5-digit zip code

Account lockout with excessive login attempts: Yes, after third attempt; red warning issued after attempt two

Online username retrieval: Depends, certain accounts can retrieve their username online, others must call; we were in the latter group so could not test this feature

AutoComplete is not disabled on the login screen.

User friendly: American Express warns users after their second unsuccessful login that they will be locked out after one more attempt.

Password reset, step 1: Enter userid, card number, and 4-digit code from back.

Password reset, step 2:
Enter personal info for authentication.


Bank of America Credit Card


Password Scorecard

Grade: Good

Weakness: No email confirmation of password change

Username structure: User defined, 9 to 20 numbers

Password structure: 4 to 7 characters; cannot repeat 4 or more in same sequence as username; cannot be same character repeated

Second password/challenge: No

IE 6 AutoComplete disabled: Yes

Online password change: Yes, with old password

Online password reset: No, must call

Email confirmation of password change/reset: No

Account lockout with excessive login attempts:
Yes, after 4 attempts; help section carries clear warning

Online username retrieval: No

BofA provides a helpful popup screen with each unsuccessful password attempt.






Centura Bank


Password Scorecard

Grade: Fair

(1) No email confirmation of password change
(2) No warning of account lockout
(3) No customer service link or HELP available from login screen

Username structure: Social security number (with dashes)

Password structure: 6 to 15 characters

Second password/challenge: No

IE 6 AutoComplete disabled: Yes

Password change: Online with old password; but neglected to provide an on-screen confirmation that the change occurred, an annoying usability flaw

Online password reset: No, must call; password sent via postal mail

Email confirmation of password change/reset: No

Account lockout with excessive login attempts:
Yes, after sixth unsuccessful attempt; no prior warning

Online username retrieval: Unnecessary (SSN)

Centura had the best login screen “security look and feel.” It also provides a link to disclosures, but not a single mention of customer service or online help, even after making an unsuccessful login attempt. Evidently the bank’s lawyers have been through the site, but where’s customer service?


Charter One Bank


Password Scorecard

Grade: Needs improvement


(1) Browser AutoComplete not disabled

(2) No email confirmation of password change
(3) No warning prior to account lockout
(4) No message after account lockout

(5) A bit too easy to gain read-only account access for new users; requires account number and social security number. However there is a crucial safeguard for bill payment which requires mother’s maiden name, date of birth, home phone number, and a 2-day waiting period.

Username structure: Social security number

Password structure: Must be at least 6 characters

Second password/challenge: No

IE 6 AutoComplete disabled: No

Online password change: Yes, with old password

Online password reset: No, must call

Email confirmation of password change/reset: No

Account lockout with excessive login attempts:
Yes, not sure when it happens, sometime before the tenth attempt; the bank does not provide a warning of impending lockout, nor does it let you know after you’ve been locked out, you only receive a cryptic
error message.

Online username retrieval: Unnecessary (SSN)


AutoComplete has not been disabled
at account login.


New users enroll with social security number and account number. Note the excellent use of security graphics during enrollment.


Chase Bank


Password Scorecard

Grade: Good

(1) No email confirmation of password change
(2) No warning of upcoming account lockout
(3) No message after account lockout

Username structure: User defined, must include one number

Password structure: 6 to 10 characters, 1 of which must be a number

Second password/challenge: No

IE 6 AutoComplete disabled: Yes

Online password change: Yes, with old password

Online password reset: Yes, with name, account type, account number, social security number, and two user selected challenge questions

Email confirmation of password change/reset: No

Account lockout with excessive login attempts:
Yes, sometime during the first 10 attempts; no warning message and no indication when account is lockout out, a “try again” message just keeps repeating

Online username retrieval: Yes, displayed online after entering name, account type, account number, social security number

Chase is one of the few banks offering online retrieval of forgotten usernames. After correctly entering name, account number, and social security number, the username is displayed. At that point you can login if you know your password. If not, you can retrieve your password online by answering two previously selected challenge questions. This is great from a usability standpoint, but the bank should send a confirmation via email and/or snail mail.

To reset the password, users answer two
previously established challenge questions. 



DeepGreen Bank


Password Scorecard

Grade: Needs improvement


(1) Browser AutoComplete not disabled

(2) No email confirmation of password change

(3) No minimum password length, can be a single letter or the same as the username
(4) No warning before account lockout
(5) No message after account locked out

Username structure: User defined, can be all alpha

Password structure: 1 to 14 characters, can be the same as the username or a single character

Second password/challenge: No

IE 6 AutoComplete disabled: No

Online password change: Yes, with old password and mother’s maiden name

Online password reset: Yes, with social security number and mother’s maiden name

Email confirmation of password change/reset: No

Account lockout with excessive login attempts:
Yes, but not sure when because the lockout is not disclosed until the user attempts to login with correct username/password.

Online username retrieval: No, must call, then wait
7 to 10 days to receive in the mail

A common security vulnerability: Failure to disable IE 6’s AutoComplete function.






Password Scorecard

Grade: Needs improvement

(1) AutoComplete not disabled
(2) No email confirmation of password reset, even though it can be reset with info available to an identity thief, SSN and mother’s maiden name
(3) No email or on-screen confirmation of p/w change
(4) No warning before account lockout
(5) No help on login screen for the memory challenged

Username structure: Initially set as social security # (with dashes); can be changed online one time; 8 to 24 characters, not similar to current username, not same as password, not offensive, at least 2 numbers and 2 alphas

Password structure: 8 to 16 characters with at least one number and one letter, not similar to username, not similar to prior password, not the same reading backward and forward

Second password/challenge: No

IE 6 AutoComplete disabled: No

Password change: Online with old password; no confirmation of the change provided on-screen

Email confirmation of password change/reset: No

Online password reset: No, must call; new temp password given over the phone after providing SSN, name, address, date of birth, and mother’s maiden name

Account lockout with excessive login attempts:
Yes, after fifth attempt, must call to reactivate; no warning prior to lockout

Online username retrieval: No, must call

Everbank provides no help at login for users that forget username or password, just a lengthy warning written by the lawyers.


First USA Credit Card (Bank One)


Password Scorecard

Grade: Fair

(1) No email confirmation of password/username change or reset; especially important given relative ease of resetting username/password
(2) No warning before account lockout

Username structure: User defined, 7 to 16 characters, case sensitive

Password structure: 7 to 32 characters, case sensitive,  must have at least 1 number, may not use the same letters consecutively, cannot match username or social security number.

Second password/challenge: No

IE 6 AutoComplete disabled: Yes

Online password change: Yes, with old password

Online username change: Yes, with old password

Online password reset: Yes, with credit card #, social security #, signature panel code, and expiration date

Online username reset: Yes, with credit card number, social security number, signature panel code, and expiration date

Email confirmation of password or username change/reset: No

Account lockout with excessive login attempts: Yes, locked out after four attempts, no warning given

First USA is the only financial institution tested which allowed usernames to be reset online; nice for usability but a confirmation of the reset should be emailed and/or mailed to the cardholder.


Harris Direct (brokerage)


Password Scorecard

Grade: Good

(1) No email confirmation of password change (thought there is for password reset)
(2) Only 3 login attempts allowed before lockout (but can reset online relatively painlessly)

Username structure: User defined, 6 to 15 characters

Password structure: 6 to 8 characters

Second password/challenge: No

IE 6 AutoComplete disabled: Yes

Online password change: Yes, with old password

Online password reset: Yes, a new disguised password is emailed after entering username and birth date; the new password is a created from the account holder’s mother maiden name and social security number but is not disclosed in the email, e.g. the first 2 letter of mother’s maiden name plus last 4 digits of social security number.

Email confirmation of password change: No

Email confirmation of password reset: Yes, confirmation also sent via snail mail

Account lockout with excessive login attempts:
Yes, after third attempt, but can be reset online; no warning before lockout

Online username retrieval: No, must call

HarrisDirect allows online reset after your account has been locked out for excessive login attempts. It was the only company which emails a disguised new password when resetting. For good measure, they also mail an identical confirmation.                    




ING Direct


Password Scorecard

Grade: Excellent

Username structure: Account number

Password structure: 4-digit number (called PIN)

Second password/challenge: Yes, one of 5 user-specified questions asked at login (see below)

IE 6 password remember disabled: Yes

Online password change: Yes, with old password

Email confirmation of password change: Yes; confirmation also sent via postal mail

Online password reset: No, must call

Account lockout with excessive login attempts:
No (not in the first 10 attempts)

Online username retrieval: Unnecessary (acct #)

ING Direct is the only bank we know of using a challenge question at login. In addition to account number and password, one of these five rotating questions must be answered correctly:

  •  first 4 digits of social security number

  •  zip code of mailing address (first 5 digits)

  •  birth year (4 digit)

  •  last 3 digits of social security number

  •  last 4 digits of social security number

We like the concept, but the implementation is weak. By simply refreshing the browser screen, the would-be thief can select which question to answer, one of which is zip code, which is trivial to ascertain. 




Password Scorecard

Grade: Fair

(1) AutoComplete not disabled on the password reset screen (it is disabled on login page)
(2) Username (email address) known to others

Username structure: Email address

Password structure: 8 to 24 characters case sensitive; recommended, but not required that it include upper and lowercase and at least one number or special character

Second password/challenge: No

IE 6 AutoComplete disabled: Varies; yes, on main login screen, no on password reset screen

Online password change: Yes, with old password

Online password reset: Yes, via email; must answer secret question via email link; if unable to access original email account the new password is sent via snail mail

Email confirmation of password change/reset: Yes

Account lockout with excessive login attempts:
Yes, after 10 unsuccessful attempts; a lockout warning appears after the seventh attempt

Online username retrieval: Not necessary since username is equal to email address


PayPal is one of the few financial companies using cookies to automatically insert usernames at login. The company has used this approach since inception, so they must feel that the improved usability more than compensates for the decrease in security.



PayPal’s online password reset process requires the user to have access to the email account registered with the service. If not, users answer one of four authentication questions (top screen) and the password is mailed to a one of the previously confirmed snail mail address (bottom screen).

PayPal explains after the seventh incorrect password attempt that you have 3 more tries before lockout. This is a far more reasonable approach than many banks’ three-strikes-and-you-are-out policy.




Password Scorecard

Grade: Fair

(1) No email confirmation of password change
(2) Account lockout too quickly, after 3 login attempts, but can be reset relatively easily online

Username structure: Account number or social security number

Password structure: 6 to 8 characters including at least one number BETWEEN the first and last characters; cannot match or be a subset of username

Second password/challenge: No

IE 6 AutoComplete disabled: Yes

Online password change: Yes, with old password

Online password reset: Yes, in one of two ways;
(a) If logging in with account number, you must provide social security number, date of birth, home phone number, and correctly pick a security in your account from a list of 10 choices including “none of the above”
(b) If logging in with a social security number, you must only provide the answer to the secret question.

Can also reset via automated phone system.

Email confirmation of password change/reset: No

Account lockout with excessive login attempts:
Yes, after 3 attempts; no warning prior to lockout

Online username retrieval: Not necessary (acct. # or soc. #)

Schwab’s unique password reset process requires the usual social security #, birth date, and telephone, plus users must correctly choose one of ten securities in the portfolio (including “none of the above”).          



US Bank


Password Scorecard

Grade: Good

Weakness: No email confirmation of password change

Username structure: User defined, 8 to 24 characters

Password structure: 8 to 24 characters

Second password/challenge: No

IE AutoComplete disabled: Yes

Online password change: Yes, with old password

Online password reset: Yes, with ATM card number and ATM PIN; new password displayed online

Email confirmation of password change/reset: No

Account lockout with excessive login attempts:
Yes, after 6 attempts; can reset online or wait 24 hours; no prior warning

Online username retrieval: No, must call

Password change screen. Note the prominent placement of what happens next.


Forgotten password can be reset online with
ATM card number and PIN.


Wells Fargo


Password Scorecard

Grade: Good

(1) No email confirmation of password change
(2) Account lockout too soon, after 3rd login try

Username structure: Social security number

Password structure: 5 to 8 characters

Second password/challenge: No

IE 6 AutoComplete disabled: Yes

Online password change: Yes, with old password

Online password reset: Yes, with statement account number and ATM PIN; those without an ATM PIN are directed to call customer service.

Email confirmation of password change/reset: No

Account lockout with excessive login attempts:
Yes, after 3 attempts; user redirected to online password reset page; no prior warning

Online username retrieval: Unnecessary (SSN)

Wells offers six options for where to go
immediately after login.

After three unsuccessful login attempts users are directed to reset their password, which can be done online with account number and PIN.    


Chase Manhattan Launched Web banking in January

By Jim Bruene on February 11, 1999 1:35 PM | Comments

Chase Manhattan


Chase Manhattan (New York; $365 billion; 30 million customers; 3.8 million ATM cards) finally launched Web banking in January, marking the last major U.S. retail bank to port online banking to the Web. But the bank has been an aggressive marketer of its non-Web online programs, so they haven’t felt much impact in terms of lost customers. The bank told Bloomberg they had 350,000 online subscribers in late Feb., a healthy 9.2% penetration of its ATM base. Edify supplied the online banking platform.
Contact: Ron Braco is SVP Electronic Commerce, , (212) 622-0097.

Categories: Chase Bank

The Five Largest North American Banks as of March 1998

By Jim Bruene on February 6, 1998 8:22 AM | Comments

Chase Manhattan

Chase Manhattan Bank (New York; $281 billion; 3.6 million ATM cards) has joined the online banking elite, crossing the quarter-million subscriber mark. Here are the five largest North American banks. CIBC (Toronto, Canada; CDN$283 billion; 4.8 million ATM cards) is also nearing the quarter-million threshold, reporting 200,000 users on March 4, 1998.


Source: company reports, industry estimates

(1) For free services, this number of subscribers isn’t particularly meaningful. Number of users is a far better gauge. But of the five, only BankBoston has reported regular users, which are 50-60% of subscribers.

(2) Monthly fee for lowest priced online option. Some charge additional fees for access through Quicken or Money.

(3) Bill pay is optional. The fee is waived at Wells with a $5,000 deposit balance and at Nations and BankBoston with premium checking accts. Additional transaction fees may apply for heavy users.


Web-Based Indirect Lending

By Jim Bruene on October 2, 1997 9:16 AM | Comments

Web-based indirect lending follows the business model used by financial institutions marketing installment loans at auto, boat, RV and other dealers of high-ticket items. The successful lenders will integrate their lending presence tightly with the end-product Web site itself.

Not surprising the first bank/merchant partnerships have sprung up in the online car sales marketplace, already a multi-billion dollar business in the United States.
Auto-By-Tel, the granddaddy of virtual auto sales (screenshot below), processes nearly 75,000 automobile purchase requests per month. At $20,000 each that’s $1.5 billion per month. Financing is provided by Chase Auto Finance, Key Corporation, and Triad Financial. Leases are from GE Capital.

ABT features “One-Click Financing and Leasing.”
Note the customer testimonial below the menu:
The Auto-By-Tel Acceptance Corporation rate was one and one-half points lower than the bank I’ve used for 25 years!

Collin Wood
Hood River, Oregon is featured on CarSmart’s front page.

Another example of Web-based indirect lending is at the popular car information site, CarSmart (screenshot below). Visitors to this online emporium will naturally be drawn to the logo featured prominently on the CarSmart site. The financing site is operated by Barnett Bank at (screenshot below). is operated by Electronic Vehicle Remarketing, a subsidiary of Barnett Bank.



But, you don’t have to be a Barnett or Chase to become an indirect cyberlender. According to the latest count on Yahoo (below), there are 241 Auto Buyers’ Services and 143 Automobile Buying Directories online. In addition, 4,493 dealers are listed online. By comparison, there are only 125 financing sources listed and 93 of those are lease agents. Among the remaining 32, only two are insured depository institutions; one is a non-bank financial services provider; and five are the captive financing arms of car manufacturers (see table below).



Financial Institution Milestones -- Chase Manhattan Bank Eliminates Online Banking Fees

By Jim Bruene on May 18, 1997 7:56 AM | Comments

Chase Manhattan

Chase Manhattan Bank (New York, NY; $336 billion; 3.5 million ATM cards) eliminated fees for its online banking offering, and boy do they let you know it (screenshot below). This has more to do with regional competition than any strategic effort to migrate customers to electronic offerings. Citibank eliminated all electronic banking fees June 1, 1995, and has been dominating the NYC market for online banking. Industry estimates put Citicorp’s subscriber base at more than 400,000 compared to Chase/Chemical which stood at 60,000 at year-end 1996. In December, Chase officials predicted 200-300,000 subscribers by year-end 1997. Previously, Chase assessed a variety of fees based on deposit balances and options used.

ChaseManhattanBankIcon1.jpg ChaseManhattanBankIcon2.jpg
These little “free” icons are all over Chase’s Web.

Separately, Chase has finally produced a respectable Web site. It still doesn’t offer account access, but the look, tone, and navigation are well-done. A far cry from its inaugural effort we lampooned a year ago. There’s an ATM locator and an online banking demo which is good-looking but PAINFULLY slow. It defeats the purpose to post a series of 50k graphic images to demonstrate how your PC banking program saves time. But we’re glad to see that Bruce and Julie Madsen’s real-life chronicle of life in an RV continues. Contact: Ron Braco is VP and heads the online program, 212.552.2222.

Categories: Chase Bank

Chase Bank Provides Auto-By-Tel Loans

By Jim Bruene on February 12, 1997 10:53 AM | Comments

Chase Manhattan (New York; $323 billion; 3.5 million ATM cards) will provide auto loans for Auto-By-Tel Corporation <>, a leading Internet-based car broker providing dealer referrals to consumers all across North America. Auto-By-Tel was launched in March 1995 and has grown to 80 employees. The company recently made history as the first Web-only product advertised during the Super Bowl. Volume has grown from 5,500 purchase requests in Sept. 1995 to 35,000 a year later. Cumulative volume to date is 400,000 purchase requests.

Purchase requests, which are free to users, are forwarded to one of 1,500 participating dealers who are obligated to make a “no-haggle” offer within 48 hours. Auto insurance is available through American International Group (AIG) which also has an equity position in privately held Auto-By-Tel. Car leasing will soon be provided by GE Capital Services, another Auto-By-Tel investor.

Major automotive information companies, including Microsoft CarPoint, Kelley Blue Book, AutoSite, and Edmund’s Car Buying Guide, all forward users to Auto-By-Tel to complete the automobile purchase. Auto-By-Tel is also available on Prodigy and CompuServe. At ABT in Irvine, CA, Peter Ellis is CEO, Mike Lowell is COO. Ron Braco heads Chase’s online efforts, 212.552.2222.

Categories: Chase Bank

Chase Bank Discloses Online Banking Stats

By Jim Bruene on January 13, 1997 1:05 PM | Comments (1)

Chase Manhattan (New York; $323 billion; 3.5 million ATM cards) recently disclosed the size of its online banking subscriber base and made projections for 1997. At year-end, the combined Chase/Chemical subscriber base stood at only 60,000. With an upcoming re-launch of its proprietary direct-dial program, Chase execs are projecting 200-300,000 users by year-end. Surprisingly, they will stay away from offering Web-based banking during 1997. Chase’s modest 1997 plans for the Web include “(getting) to the point of being able to do some application-receiving on the Internet,” according to Donald Boudreau, Vice-Chairman of Consumer Credit. Either Chase is putting up a smoke-screen to the press or they are way behind. I suspect the latter given the difficulties associated with a merger the size of Chase/Chemical. Good news for all those institutions, big and small, who compete against Chase. Ron Braco is VP and heads the online program, 212.552.2222.

Comments (1)
Categories: Chase Bank

Top Web-Based Financial Services Launched in 1996

By Jim Bruene on January 6, 1997 11:32 AM | Comments

The Web dominated the news throughout 1996. As well it should have. We completely agree with David Weisman of Forrester Research that the Internet is the fourth channel for delivering financial services. Joining in-person, mail and telephone channels as an essential part of every financial institution’s marketing and delivery mix.

The following chart summarizes what we think were the year’s most significant developments in Web banking. From Liberty Financial’s WebSaver annuity to Carolina First’s newest division, Atlanta Internet Bank, these new products, services, and strategies provide a glimpse of how the fourth channel will be leveraged in the future.

Top Story
Top honors go to APL Federal Credit Union (Laurel, MD; $97 million) which in July used Digital Insight’s turnkey Web services to become the fifteenth financial institution in the world to offer online account access. Why is that so significant? APL has only 8,000 members! Yet, because Web-based services can be implemented so inexpensively, APL was able to beat giants such as Citibank, Chase, and Nations to the market with Web-based checking account access.


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