Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

BancorpSouth bolsters brand with mobile banking app

Financial holding company BancorpSouth is increasing the ease of mobile banking for its customers with a new branded mobile banking application.

“BancorpSouth Mobile Banking” is the first application to carry the BancorpSouth brand and is intended to provide a quick and easy tool for managing finances on-the-go. Customers with iPhones can use it to access their accounts, view balances and pay bills over a secure network.

“Our strategy was to give customers a new way to look at account info,” said Derek Caswell, first vice president of retail banking for BancorpSouth, Tupelo, MS. “Our overall experience has been extremely positive in terms of our Internet banking services.

“Whether paying bills or managing funds [using Internet banking], customers are more engaged with banks,” he said. “Overall, customers are more profitable if they are more engaged with having multiple different services, and they’re more likely to stay with the bank.” 

“Leveraging that, seeing what we did with Internet banking, the mobile app was just a natural addition to our Internet offerings for our customers.”

BancorpSouth is a financial holding company with an estimated value of $13.2 billion. It operates more than 300 banking and insurance locations across nine states.

The release of BancorpSouth’s mobile banking application comes on the heels of other major banks who have begun trying their hands in the mobile space.

Bank of America-owned MBNA announced last month the launch of a new service that lets customers access account information through SMS messages (see story) and Chase has unveiled a similar initiative that can alert customers when their accounts drop below a pre-specified level (see story).

Banking on the go
In order to sync the application to a banking account, users must first access their BankcorpSouth account at

From there, they can click on a “Mobile Banking” tab that brings them to a page with registration instructions to complete.

Finally, the bank assigns a code that users can plug into the application to activate their mobile accounts.

The mobile banking application contains a “Consumer’s Wallet” feature that brings together several of BancorpSouth’s services in one place.

Inside the wallet, clients can check their account balances, make transfers and receive or pay bills.

Here is a screen grab of the BancorpSouth iPhone application:

Additionally, the application consolidates access to several different types of accounts and lets users manage individual credit cards, loans and business accounts.

If a customer loses mobile Internet access at any time during a transaction, a warning signal pops up and the page is saved until a connection is restored.

Once activated, the application can also lock a mobile device and require that a subscriber-specific PIN code be entered in order to regain access.

The application uses an advanced security protocol called Secure Socket Layers (SSL) that protects information travelling over the system by encrypting it.

Branding mobile banking
BancorpSouth first entered the mobile space in March 2007, when they made their services available through a generic mobile banking application.

The new application – designed for the iPhone and iPod touch, and available for free in the Apple App Store – is the first exclusive to the BancorpSouth brand.

However, as the segment of Android users continues to grow, the company has plans to release a similar application compatible with that mobile operating system next year.

The application is targeted at 18- to 35-year-old mobile users, but has proven popular across demographic segments.

“It has surprised us, overwhelmingly how the iPhone app has been downloaded through multiple different demos,” Mr. Caswell said. “The iPhone seems to go across demographics.

“One thing is it’s just so easy,” he said. “There are not multiple buttons to press, no browsing around, no Web address to remember.”

Still, those most likely to download the application are already immersed in the latest banking technology.

“What we’re finding are the ones who download the app are heavy internet banking users,” Mr. Caswell said. “They’re paying bills online, they’re actively engaged with the bank, and actively looking at their balances.

“They want to know what their finances are and they want to stay on top of it,” he said.

BancorpSouth anticipates that the branded iPhone application will not only help the bank retain current clients, but also help it to entice new ones.

“I think it will help us get new customers,” Mr. Caswell said. “It is an early adoption strategy, so with that the goal is that we can get some customers that we wouldn’t have received before.

“When customers are searching for mobile banking [in the App Store], it will come up, and it won’t be a generic name, it’ll come up as Bancorp south,” he said.