maybank2u 2.0

Last Monday, I attended the Maybank2u 2.0 Launch Preview at Delicious @ MARC Residences, in KL. Since then, I’ve been playing with their beta site, doing my day-to-day banking, using it.

The executive summary? I’m impressed. Not that the new site is leaps and bounds better, but I’m impressed over the improvement that was the previous site.

In Malaysia, 15 banks offer Internet Banking services, and Maybank2u has about 60% of the market. Apparently, statistics show that in 2007 alone, there were about 4.5 million Internet Banking users registered in Malaysia, with m2u – really? The queues at the post office for bill payments seem to tell another story.

Maybank’s Ahmad Shareza even went on to boldly say that the m2u website is the number 1 site (sometimes number 2 site, depending on AirAsia’s cheap flights promotions) in Malaysia. It sounded like a fib, but we’ll leave it at that.

The website launched in 2000 (so its been about 8 years due for a redesign?). With 4.5 million registered users, there are only 1 million active users (explains the post office queues!). However, registration is growing at 90,000/month. Impressive. There are over 30 million monthly transactions handled in the system, with over RM3.3 billion ringgit monthly value. The page view stats stand at 157 million page views per month!

Its important to note that they’ve taken a scientific approach to redesigning the site. They went through interaction design stages, usability studies, design first then only rebuild, and so on. It took them about 6 months, and the abilities of David Wang and the rest of the team at AGENDA.

Interestingly enough, they benchmarked the site against 25 other banks – they picked on UK, US and Australian banks. Smart move. For a bank to want to offer personalisation services, I say its a real win.

OK, a bit about their previous architecture… They had 3,000 pages all coded manually. There were 4 master templates, and 6 sub-templates, but overall, there was nothing being pulled out of a database, or anything. Nothing has changed with the current architecture – they’re still using JSP, and the backends are still the same. However, just look at it as a progressive UI redesign (templating, if you must).

Site Loading
Its slow. The previous site gets an F(56) from YSlow, and is 148KB in size (taking me about 5.47s to load), with 41 HTTP requests. The new redesigned site gets an F(50), weighing in at a whooping 195.8K, with 61 HTTP requests (now, load times are at 10.68s). Lets hope they fix it, at some stage.

The UI
Its cleaner. There are tabs, they make use of rounded corners (easier on the eyes), there is a messaging system. In fact, it reminds me of what Commonwealth Bank offers, minus the silly Java applets. Online Financial Services

The cue has been taken that a lot of laptops are now 1280×800, in terms of display resolution. While the wide-screen aspect part of it doesn’t come into play, with my browser running in full height mode, I did manage to see the entire website. This of course meant turning my dock into auto-hiding mode (on Linux, the way I run my desktop, 800 pixels in height wasn’t enough). Online Financial Services
The colours are streamlined.

A little peeking shows that they have mobile CSS capabilities now. Asked if there will be a mobile site (not with some silly applet that sits on the phone), I’m told they’re looking into it. Of course today, there are no rules – hopefully by the mid-October 2008 launch, there will be.

The website still doesn’t work past midnight till 6am. Oh wait, there’s a grace period till about 1am. Its useless when you’re overseas, because sometimes that’s the best time to bank. I mean, who keeps track of what time it is in Malaysia? Its interesting to note that about 10% or so of the m2u users are not from Malaysia!

A lot of people complain about not receiving the TAC in time. Most find it useless. The TAC is of course is a mechanism for two factor authentication. The 6 digit code comes via SMS, and works a charm even when you’re overseas (and roaming, of course). But apparently, it only works well with Maxis – other providers have delays. So, Maybank is looking into using Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD). This uses the voice stream, and is most reliable (more so than SMS anyway). Why limit TAC sending to local phone numbers only? Allow it for international numbers!

M – annoys me. Its not LiveChat (there was no due diligence on anything besides the solution from Microsoft). You need MSN Messenger to get it going. I find this silly. Its an AI bot, so there’s no one on the other end, but why the lock-in to Microsoft? Oh, naturally, because of a partnership with Microsoft. Take a look at a chat with M. Reminds me of the Emacs Psychiatrist.

Pull-down menus, having things you need on hand, most useful. You can even choose services based on some criteria the bank set out for you. - Credit Cards

Post-choosing, you can even compare and contrast between cards (and other services). The UI there needs work (horizontal scroll when its not needed), but the previous site would’ve sent you hunting and pecking and left you frustrated.

What else?
The more I use it, and the more I get annoyed with it, I’ll be sure to update you. Now I have Shareza’s email address, I’ll be sure to drop him regular comments :)

Interestingly at the event, I met a bunch of tech folk whom are in the usual tech circles, but most of the others were bloggers. Very cliquey, but maybe I exude an aura of aloofness. They also blogged: kclau, jason, liewcf (whom I finally got to meet after all the chatting previously), suanie, davidlian, pin?, josh lim (interesting chatting to the Adverlets guy – maybe next I’ll find a Nuffnang guy – my thoughts on the local advertising industry coming right up). There are probably more, I found these links through Google BlogSearch :)

Today, you can discover their all you portal. A bank is blogging! This might be a first? From there, you too can try out the new maybank2u!

Happy banking!