Monday, November 19, 2012

Mobile banking and payment the French way

Last week I found myself queuing in a bank and while rolling my eyes around in search of visual distraction amongst the redundancy of impersonal banking promo, I noticed something resembling an iPhone. Getting closer, I realized it was a flyer advertising the institution' s mobile banking and payment services executed in ... an attention grabbing way.

So I decided to look into what are France's biggest banks doing in the area of mobile from a communications stand point. I went on their websites as any potential customer would do when informing him/herself about what's on offer and noted my first impressions, browsed around and here is what I have found:

BNP Paribas
  • General Presentation: Streaming down from their on line banking strategy, BNP Paribas mobile banking and payment offer is well presented within a dedicated section of the website. It also features a partnership with the mobile operator Orange and offers for customers.
  • Access: Accessing the mobile section is easy: click on the main website's navigation button ''Mobile''
  • Service structure: The mobile service gathers under one ''catalogue'' application ''All my Apps'' the mobile banking and the mobile payment services, with supporting functionalities such as auto assistant  property damage declaration (via phone call), travel assistant, money transfer, NFC,etc. The partnership with Orange lets clients choose a new  package and a handset or a NFC sim card. If you choose to recycle your handset with, you get a discount applied to your new phone. You can choose your new handset without leaving the bank's website. 
  • Multimedia: Presence of promo videos, however their soundtrack is a bit distracting from understanding the message, it is assumed that the target audience is the young and hip who can grasp tech savvy offers on the go. The iPhone look alike print flyer is attention grabbing but its cluttered with info and visuals.
  • Con: My first impression was a bit confusing, it took some time to make sense of it all.
  • Pro: Comprehensive offer under one umbrella with good user interface. For the mobile payments, integration with Orange and choice of package. Good presentation: what you see is what you get.
Societe Generale:
  • General presentation: SG 's services have a dedicated  ''.mobi'' domain. It seemed to me that practicality was emphasized above fresh, hip packaging which might be a reflection of their target market for this particular service: a cautious, mature customer.
  • Access: Not so easy if you don't know the .mobi address (which is accessible only from the phone) : The mobile service is buried within the website and it requires several click throughs. 
  • Service structure: Standard mobile banking functionalities within a downloadable app. A currency converter is a welcomed addition to the basic bundle of your account, savings and expenses, etc.
  • Multimedia: no distracting soundtrack, a simple, guided tour of the app which I think does its job well. 
  • Con: It seemed too generic.
  • Pro: Focused to the management of ones account/money. It also indicates the different ways of reaching the service: sms, store, QR, PC. Simple and clear. 

Credit Agricole
  • General presentation: Mobile services labelled as'' My mobile Bank'' dedicated space. Friendly user experience yet simple and clear. 
  • Access: Easy access through a navigation button on the homepage. 
  • Service structure: Offer tailored to the banks main financial and insurance products. In the insurance category, the standalone app allows for taking pictures of the damage done to property and send the declaration via the app. However, unlike in BNP Paribas' s case, apps are individually downloadable (about 6 of them) as opposed to having them under a master-app roof, in one download. Also all of them are Paribas's branded, while CA mobile payment app KWIXO redirects to a 3rd party.
  • Multimedia: Each app linked to a different location, whether app store or external 3rd party website, on which explanation is provided.
  • Con: One app wasn't available; six individual downloads instead of merging all in one.
  • Pro: Simplicity and the picture functionality in the property damage declaration app. 

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