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FirstBank P2P payments aimed at easing mobile money transfers

The bank, which has more than 120 locations in Colorado, Arizona and California, will offer P2P payments through the clearXchange network. The inclusion of P2P payments in FirstBank’s app shows how consumer banks are revamping applications to increase convenience for customers who feel increasingly comfortable banking on mobile devices.

“We wanted to offer a simpler, quick, secure way for customers to transfer money to others,” said Lisa Adams, assistant vice president of FirstBank, which is based in Lakewood, CO.

“Our mobile strategy focuses on making banking simpler and more convenient for our customers.  P2P provides one more tool to simplify their finances.”

Increasing convenience
ClearXchange claims to be the largest P2P payments network in the United States created by and for financial institutions. Its technology allow consumers and businesses to send and receive money using just an email or mobile number.

Simplifying customers’ finances.

More than 100 million people already have access to the clearXchange network directly through their current bank.

The update means that FirstBank customers with the app can now send payments from their account safely and conveniently using only the recipient’s mobile number or e-mail address, and without providing sensitive account information.

For recipients whose bank is not yet part of the clearXchange network, they only need to do a one-time registration at to have payments sent directly to their account at any U.S. bank.

FirstBank said it is the first U.S. regional bank in the nation to go live with the service.

“As this product is available on our mobile app and uses mobile phone numbers as a transfer method, along with email addresses, we expect mobile customers would certainly be drawn to this product,” Ms. Adams said. “However, we also offer it through our online banking so any online customer has access to this service.”

Mobile has quickly become an important channel for banks, as consumers grow more comfortable using their mobile devices for a wide range of financial services.

In October, Bank of America said it saw the number of customers banking on mobile in the second quarter jump 15 percent from a year ago, following the introduction of application features aimed at driving convenience for users.

The number of mobile banking customers increased to 16.1 million users in the quarter, and 11 percent of deposit transactions by consumers were done through mobile compared to 8 percent in the year-ago period.

After moving deeper into mobile in recent months, Bank of America’s banking services for users on iPhone and iPad now include check-deposit using a mobile device, getting notified of account activity with mobile app alerts and secure money transfers.

Users of the bank’s mobile Web site can access all mobile-app features except app alerts and mobile check deposit. Customers also can use text banking to get an account balance quickly.

Growing portfolio
“People are becoming more comfortable using their mobile devices for everyday tasks and having access to more on the go,” Ms. Adams said. “They want tools that will enable them to do more, faster.

More customers are comfortable with mobile banking.

“We are actively growing our mobile product portfolio and expect to continue to release innovative products to help our customers manage their finances.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.