Intuit Reports Its Rivals Are Actually Helping To Boost Its Own Mobile Suite

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.-Intuit Inc. says momentum in mobile payments sparked by Google Inc. and the carrier venture Isis has boosted its own mobile banking business.

The recent announcements from rivals have fueled "strong" interest in Intuit's latest mobile offerings, particularly demand for mobile account-management services among its core small and midsized bank customers, John Flora, Intuit Financial Services' group product manager, told American Banker, an affiliate of Credit Union Journal.

Intuit saw a surge of fresh interest in its mobile-banking applications immediately following last month's announcement of Google's mobile-payment service. "Smaller institutions in particular are rushing to catch up now to make sure they have solid mobile offerings," he said, noting banks "in the $1 billion to $10 billion" range are among its core customers.

Some 350 financial institutions within the past year have adopted Intuit's mobile banking technology, Flora said. The latest versions enable consumers to view account balances and transaction histories, pay bills, transfer funds between accounts and find ATMs and branches based on their locations, he said.

Intuit it provides online banking technology to about 1,800 financial institutions.

'Significant' Rise Expected

The number of financial institutions interested in extending online banking capabilities to mobile devices likely will rise "significantly" in the coming months following Intuit's June 7 introduction of its mobile banking application for the Android platform, Flora said.

Intuit has offered mobile banking for Apple Inc.'s iPhone for about nine months, but demand for the Android version is likely to surpass that soon because of the Android's broader overall market share, he said.

"We're getting tremendous user feedback, and consumer reviews are surpassing those of mobile applications most large banks receive," Flora said.

Flora told American Banker there is an opportunity during the early days of mobile payments for Intuit to help banks capitalize on the inherent strengths of their own brands, including existing broad consumer recognition and trust.

"There are a lot of people taking swings at mobile payments now, but it's still very early, and lots of pieces need to fall into place before it becomes a widely used, trusted system," Flora said. "These new services are trying to build from scratch something banks already have, which is solid consumer trust in established payment brands and systems. We have the opportunity now for banks to add mobile applications onto existing services so consumers don't feel left behind. And when NFC becomes widespread, it will not be a big leap for banks to add that on, too, without losing customers to rival brands."

Intuit so far is not part of any broad mobile payments service, but the company is racing to enrich its online and mobile-banking offerings.

Coupons & Discounts

Intuit in March introduced merchant-funded rewards on the home page of its FinanceWorks personal financial management system. The service enables participating consumers to take advantage of discounts, coupons and deals from other merchants based on previous debit card purchases.

On the small-business card-acceptance side, Intuit in May said it is testing enhancements to its GoPayment mobile service, introduced in 2009. The enhancement, built for the Android mobile platform, enables a merchant to tap a customer's smartphone to initiate a payment, eliminating the need to attach a card reader to the phone for card acceptance.

Intuit also "soon" plans to broadly introduce remote deposit capture for consumers, Flora said, declining to say when. The company for some time has offered remote deposit capture for businesses and this year enhanced those offerings.

"Our belief is that everyone is going to continue to primarily trust their financial institution, and mobile should become an addition to that, not a separate channel with a different name," Flora said.

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