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E*Trade bets on voice recognition, bar code scanning to update mobile apps

Financial institution E*Trade has added a slew of new features including bar code scanning, mobile deposits and voice recognition to its iPhone and Android applications to help speed up how the company’s clients manage their finances.

E*Trade claims to be the first financial institution firm to include voice recognition into its iPhone app. The iPhone and Android app are available for free download from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

“Our goal is to enable customers to interact with us in whatever way or channel is most convenient for them,” said Eric Johnson, director of mobile platforms at E*Trade, New York.

“With the increasing adoption rates and usage of voice-enabled technology, we have added this feature to provide our customers with yet another easy and convenient option for managing their investments,” he said.

E*Trade provides banking products and online brokerage services.

Mobile finances
Clients with the E*Trade iPhone app can download the latest version and use the microphone feature to speak into their device to find access to quick information including stock quotes, news and their portfolio. Users can also place stock order tickets via the voice feature.

E*Trade’s Android app has also been updated to include mobile deposits to let clients deposit money into their accounts by snapping a picture of the front and back of a check via their device’s camera.

The iPhone and Android app have been updated to include a bar code scanner that clients can use to scan UPC codes. Once a consumer has scanned the code, users can view publicly-traded information about the company.

Other app updates include charts that can be used to compare stocks, analyst reports, video clips and mutual fund trading.

Fresh updates
This is the second big app overhaul for *E Trade this year. In January, E*Trade added the mobile deposit feature to its iPhone app (see story).

Updating an app regularly is crucial to getting consumers to use it on a regular basis and by looking for ways to incorporate new features into the app that go beyond managing money, E*Trade is aiming to make its app a one-stop shop for its clients.

In addition to the iPhone and Android app, E*Trade also has apps for BlackBerry and iPad devices.

According to a study from global business advisory firm AlixPartners, mobile banking is expected to reach 50 percent of consumers by 2016, showing how financial institutions need to be thinking critically about how to develop mobile services for clients (see story).

“Our mobile strategy supports the larger E*Trade mission, which is to deliver the best investing experience possible,” Mr. Johnson said.

“We are continually reviewing customer feedback, identifying consumer trends and integrating new features and functionality so that we are able to offer the tools and solutions that meet these needs and empower investors,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York