At BAI, Mobile Apps Go Open: Onsite Coverage
WASHINGTON — Big news out of the BAI Retail Delivery conference at the Washington Convention Center this week is that two major mobile banking apps developers – mFoundry and Intuit – announced they were opening their apps to allow incorporation of third-party content chosen by individual financial institutions.
Although similar in their openness, the two models are different under the hood.
At mFoundry, CEO Drew Sievers said his Larkspur, Calif., company has struck deals with "around 30" developers -- among them payments pioneer Dwolla and gift card vendor Blackhawk Network - who have agreed to work with mFoundry in creating apps that work seamlessly inside the basic mobile banking app.
To the user, the functions would be "white labeled," Sievers said, meaning there would not necessarily be brand identification inside the app for say, Blackhawk.
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The institution would also revenue share with mFoundry and with the app developer. Sievers gave as a for instance sale of a gift card that generated $10 in revenue. In his hypothetical, $5 would go to Blackhawk and $5 would be split between the institution and mFoundry.
Sievers stressed that participating credit unions would control which content to offer their members, and which to exclude.
At Intuit in Calabasas, Calif., spokesperson Tobin Lee painted a different vision of openness where the Intuit mobile banking app is opening up to accommodate content – widgets, apps, whatever an institution might want – developed by the institution, either internally or through third parties.
Lee held open the option that Intuit might itself offer content tailored to certain institutions but, in the main, he talked in an interview at BAI of a blank slate built into the mobile app that will let the institution better serve its members.
"No single vendor can have all the answers," said Lee. "That is why we are opening the platform."