Archive for March, 2010

When it comes to revolutionizing how modern-day customers do their banking, USAA is head and shoulders above the pack. This is hardly surprising, as many of its customers are currently deployed on military duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, making innovations in mobile banking one of the most valuable services USAA can provide.

Currently, one of their most impressive offerings includes the ability to deposit a check by merely taking a photo of the front and back and sending it to their bank, who then verifies the transaction. The next step, however, is person-to-person mobile payments that would allow mobile users to send money to other mobile users, make purchases and pay their bills, all from their phone. Think of it like a credit card in your cell phone, or a mobile PayPal.

Nokia is already two steps ahead of USAA in this regard. Nokia Money is set to roll out this 2010, and similar to PayPal, it would charge a percentage or a flat fee for each transaction made on a mobile device. This precedent indicates there may be a new revenue stream available to banks who want to invest in mobile technology. The fees for each transaction are generally small, but they add up significantly. Furthermore, many people who do not have bank accounts do have cell phones, allowing banks to tap into a market they may not have previously considered.

Phone-to-phone mobile banking may be the most popular in the developing world, where cashless payments have previous been an issue. M-Pesa in Kenya has already shown the movement has legs, and person-to-person mobile payments are popular throughout Africa and South Asia. For European and North American markets, person-to-person likely won’t supplant mobile banking, but it could be invaluable to third-world and developing nations who don’t have banking systems that support their economic status.

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Retailers including 7-Eleven, Blockbuster, Whole Foods Market, Restoration Hardware, and any number of other equally varied retailers were all banking on the Beatles last year.

The industry recently released – and saw excellent sales from – The Beatles: Rock Band, a video game that allows players to drum, play guitar, and sing along to the classic hits of the Fab Four.

The Beatles are hardly a thing of the past, with many in the younger generation still posting them on their Facebook pages among their favorite artists, right next to more recent inundations to the pop hall of fame like the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus.

Retailers hoping to generate interest in the new video game are relying heavily on interactive devices in their stores and contests that appeal to younger people. 7-Eleven hosted a contest around their Slurpees and Big Gulps, while Best Buy put out setups in over 800 stores and giving away Beatles memorabilia and prizes like trips to London.

Though the majority of sales were expected to go to older players, retailers are pretty certain that those who lived through the glory days of the Brit invasion won’t need much persuasion to relive their favorite memories of Yesterday.

The new Rock Band is bound to see a lot of popularity, especially as the Beatles have notoriously kept their music from becoming available in single-song format on media channels like iTunes.

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