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

Community State Bank enables contactless mobile payments for local merchants

Community State Bank customers can now use their mobile phones to tap and pay for purchases at the point of sale.

To power the service, the bank tapped Bling Nation, a provider of mobile payments services that connect financial institutions, businesses and consumers. Community State Bank had a four-part strategy behind incorporating Bling Nation into its product mix.

“Number one was to strengthen our community relations by offering the Shop Local Incentive Program and by offering the lower cost of transactional fees to our small town merchants,” said Kirk Crespin, information technology and information security officer at Community State Bank, Lamar, CO. “Secondly, we had used the opportunity to recruit new merchants on this program to help add commercial accounts to our base.

“Third is that we have actively marketed the Bling Only Checking Account to our onsumer base in an attempt to help build upon new consumer accounts,” he said. “And finally, our overall objective is to help increase our customer base and our core deposits.”

Community State Bank is a de novo financial institution with more than $59 million in assets. The community bank provides mobile payments, online banking, account management and loan services to individual and commercial customers in southeast Colorado.

Bling Nation mobile payment services connect local financial institutions and businesses, letting customers use their mobile phones to tap and pay for purchases and receive SMS account-balance and transaction confirmations at the point of sale.

Businesses and financial institutions can eliminate payment-processing middlemen, while differentiating their services and supporting community “shop local” programs.

Contactless mobile payments
Community State Bank said that with Bling Nation’s tap-and-pay service through mobile phones, the bank’s personal and business customers can make and receive payments with greater ease and less risk of fraud or theft.

Customers with a full-service checking or Bling Only account at the Community State Bank can sign up for a BlingTag, a quarter-sized microchip sticker that adheres to the back of their mobile phone to enable debit transactions directly from their account.

The BlingTag gives users their real-time account balance each time they make a purchase, which means there are no overdraft charges or fees.

Since the tag does not store any personal information, it is more secure than traditional plastic cards and reduces the risk of identity theft.

“Our hope is as Community State Bank, a locally owned community bank, that this program along with the Shop Local rewards program gives our local small businesses a competitive edge [over] the regional or national chains,” Mr. Crespin said.

“Our hope is to strengthen our brand as a community bank focused on the needs of our community,” he said.

Mr. Crespin said that day-to-day purchases are also more rewarding with the BlingTag.

Community State Bank customers receive five percent in Shop Local Rewards Points with every Bling transaction up to $100.

The points can then be used at any local business that accepts Bling.

Mr. Crespin said that Bling keeps money circulating within Lamar and at a lower cost for businesses than credit cards.

Community State Bank customers have been excited about this program, and the Lamar community has shown that they appreciate the bank’s efforts to support local businesses, consumers and the economy, according to Mr. Crespin.

Businesses, such as grocer Lamar Thriftway and electronics store Valley Electronics, a Radio Shack dealer and authorized retailer of Verizon Wireless, have embraced Bling.

Community State Bank has seen a 55 percent increase in business accounts since offering the BlingTag.

“Bling Nation addresses challenges for us by offering a low-fee transactional service for our local merchants, a way to support our community’s Shop Local initiative and the opportunity to offer a new exciting technology to our customers in a safe, easy and secure product,” Mr. Crespin said.