Posts Tagged ‘bank’

The online banking opportunity

It’s 2015, everyone I know makes use of online banking. In fact in Malaysia you’re getting online banking mobile apps that also take advantage Apple’s fingerprint sensor to give you a quick balance. Yet, you can’t take a photo of a cheque and get yourself credited, like you can do in the USA.

But that’s not the online banking I’m referring to. Online banking as a service or conduit for your physical bank is pretty boring. I’m thinking of the online savings accounts like ING Direct does provide you in Australia — high interest rates due to not having physical bank branches to maintain. Withdrawals or payments are made easy by having access to a cheque book. 

So the online banking I’m excited about is the idea of a direct bank.

No bank branches, minimal advertising (have you seen the HSBC ads on the rugby or the many airports one may visit?), mobile first, desktop second, and great telephone support in the local language of choice. ATM withdrawal fees at any network will be reimbursed if less than 5-8 transactions a month (Standard Chartered in Malaysia already manages this). ATMs in critical areas (malls? coffee shops?), with cash deposit as well as coin deposit (Singapore’s DBS has good examples of this). Cheque deposits via snapping a photo on your mobile phone. 

What about loans? Let’s do it over the telephone. Since we’ve got the online first mentality, wouldn’t it be cool to provide an interest rate discount if you provided us access to your social media streams? After all the more data we can get about you, the better it is we can provide you with a loan! This can also work for unsecured lines of credit (credit cards, personal loans, etc.) — your creditworthiness can be deemed on how much you’ve demonstrated you can pay (ala Amex), but at the same time once we have more information about you, we can be a lot more efficient (eg. you’ve posted a photo of you in Athens on Instagram; the bank doesn’t have to call you about a potential fraudulent transaction since it knows you’re there). Identity (and encryption) is important, so tying in a service like might make sense to ensure that now I can email my bank about my travel plans. After all banks are already used to using “Secure Mail” to send their private banking customers notes via email…

Hong Kong and Singapore understand electronic payments at point of sale via Octopus cards as well as the NETS system. Australia was way ahead of this trend with EFTPOS (with the ability to cash out at some locations like supermarkets even, thus eliminating the need for you to visit a bank ATM). Malaysia has this ability with MEPS but it has never really taken off. I once had dreams of paying my nasi lemak seller using plastic; that was the promise of SoftSpace (Malaysia’s answer to Square). Execution of buying a unit from CIMB (they white label for them) is nowhere near as easy as Square, which explains why uptake has been extremely slow.

But the time is now. There are more mobile phones in use than there are Malaysians. Many have access to the Internet, either via mobile data or WiFi. Pretty much every establishment today has access to an Internet connection. There is no longer an excuse to not have electronic payments. Its also a lot more efficient for the tax man (from a retailer’s standpoint).

One thing that I’ve not focused on much is regulation; however regulation is something that will eventually change with time (or if you do something first…). South Korea is moving towards this as the FT reports — South Korea moves towards first online-only bank. They plan to only issue one or two licenses, and it seems that DaumKakao is looking towards getting their hands on a license, and offer banking via their popular messaging app, KakaoTalk. “Seoul is introducing web-only banks as part of efforts to deregulate and advance the under-developed financial sector, as it seeks new economic growth drivers.” – something Malaysia can learn a lot from. It’s interesting that China already has some of this in the form of Mybank (backed by Alibaba) and WeBank (backed by Tencent).

There’s also reading material that I found rather interesting, a 2014 McKinsey report — Digital Banking in Asia. The US has something cool via Simple (can draw some great inspiration from their execution).

If you’re interested in solving a hard problem, with a great focus on customer satisfaction, with the ability to be really disruptive, please feel free to drop me an email —

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!