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Bank of America invests in mobile-enabled rewards redemption

Bank of America’s redesigned mobile application now includes Spanish language capabilities as well as the ability to redeem BankAmericard Cash Rewards for travel points or cash-back offers without leaving the app.

The financial institution rolled out a revamped version of its mobile app in a bid to offer users easier navigation tools and additional language capabilities. Bank of America’s new app also features an enhanced credit card rewards redemption platform, which enables mobile users to view accumulated rewards and redeem them for cash-back deals or travel points directly within the app.

“We’ve moved beyond the basics in mobile banking apps (e.g. balances, transfers, mobile deposit, etc.) and customers expect the larger banks to be on par with the mobile wallet players these days,” said Jon Squire, CEO and founder of CardFree. “There is still an addressable audience that views their banks as the only entities they feel comfortable transacting financial solutions with.”

Ramping up mobile rewards
Bank of America introduced the ability to redeem credit card rewards directly through its app after receiving repeated requests from consumers. Now, customers can view available rewards stemming from their BankAmericard Travel Rewards and BankAmericard Cash Rewards accounts within the bank’s redesigned app.

They may redeem any desired amount of points through the app by choosing a reward such as three percent cash-back on gas purchases and two percent cash-back at grocery stores. Users can also opt to procure travel loyalty points instead.

BankAmericard Travel Rewards members receive 1.5 points per each dollar spent on all purchases. The points can then be used toward statement credit to pay for vacation packages, hotels, flights, rental cars and baggage fees.

Bank of America customers who have not already downloaded the financial institution’s mobile app may be swayed to do so now, especially if they would like to monitor and redeem their credit card rewards while on the go.

The entire user experience has also been revamped in this latest iteration, with both the Android and iOS versions boasting streamlined navigation menus for easier access to popular features.

Additionally, Bank of America credit card customers can now keep track of their FICO Scores directly through the app. Individuals may access information regarding key factors influencing their scores and leverage the Better Money Habits platform, which offers complimentary educational tools detailing ways to maintain good credit.

Spotlight on Spanish speakers
Bank of America is providing its Spanish-speaking customers with the ability to choose their native language prior to navigating the mobile app’s available tools.

If a user’s device language setting and online banking profile is already set to Spanish, the banking app will ask him or her to confirm the desired default language upon logging in for the first time.

Bank of America currently has more than 20 million active app users, who logged into their accounts over 900 million times during the second quarter of 2016.

Therefore, its dedication to rolling out Spanish-language features is well-placed, as a large portion of its non-English speaking customer base will likely take advantage of them.

“Spanish-speaking customers represent anywhere from 15 to 25 percent of most banking communities, so it is a no-brainer that their apps serve that population with as little friction as possible,” Mr. Squire said.

Bank of America has been enjoying a series of mobile wins recently.

While the five largest banks in the United States continue to race forward in mobile banking, including all offering pre-login account balance information, Bank of America has pulled far ahead in product research and cross-selling on mobile, according to a new report from Forrester Research (see story).

However, other financial brands are upping the ante when it comes to introducing innovative features within their mobile apps.

Financial services brand USAA recently introduced a new feature within its mobile app enabling consumers to leverage voice commands to complete tasks such as depositing a check and transferring funds, a tool that will be beneficial for visually impaired users (see story).

“[Must-have mobile banking app features include] payment at the POS, direct merchant offers that can be consumed in real-time, potentially coalition loyalty, simplified P2P payments, card-free ATMs and an ability to work across both NFC and cloud solutions within the stores,” Mr. Squire said.