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Bank of America (BofA) is introducing a digital debit card feature in its mobile banking app that can be used for in-store, in-app, and online payments with credentials from the app, through a mobile wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay.
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If customers are waiting for their debit card to arrive in the mail — due to fraud or opening a new account, for instance — they can access a virtual card immediately through their mobile banking app.
In addition to shopping, the digital card can be used to make deposits or withdrawals at BofA’s cardless ATMs — the bank counts more than 16,000 enhanced ATMs and that number is growing.
Offering customers digital tools around debit cards could give BofA — and banks that follow in its footsteps — an edge in customer acquisition.
- Advanced mobile banking features are an important driver of bank selection. In fact, 61% of mobile banking users who responded to Business Insider Intelligence’s Mobile Banking Competitive Edge Study (Enterprise only) said they researched a bank’s mobile capabilities before opening an account.
- Customers crave security- and access-related features to manage their cards in mobile banking. Of the 33 mobile banking features included in our study, respondents’ three most desired features revolved around ensuring card access and security: the ability to turn a card on or off, the ability to set a travel alert, and the ability to file a card transaction dispute. Demand for these related features is likely to carry over into BofA’s solution.
- Cardless ATM access — a component of BofA’s upgrade — is a highly in-demand mobile feature that few banks offer. Fifty-nine percent of respondents to the Mobile Banking Competitive Edge Study called the feature, which is an important component of BofA’s upgrade, "very" or "extremely" valuable. Still, only nine of the top 20 largest US banks offered it. The gap between consumer demand and bank supply makes the feature a differentiator for BofA.
Other top banks — Wells Fargo and Capital One — have doubled down on features that streamline commerce in mobile banking. Wells Fargo offers card-free ATM access as well as Control Tower — a set of digital money management features that allow customers to switch cards on and off, view recurring payments, and monitor data sharing, among other card control features. For added security, Control Tower also assigns individual digital card numbers to cards in mobile wallets.
Meanwhile, Capital One offers a Virtual Card Numbers API feature, which allows customers to create virtual credit cards to bolster security while shopping online and reduce friction around card reissuance.
Through the end of the year, we expect a small handful of the top 30 US large banks to follow in the footsteps of Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Capital One and roll out advanced features that ensure secure and streamlined access to cards through mobile banking.
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