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Citi helps shoppers manage holiday spending via Apple Watch

During the session, The Credit Card on Your Wrist: Wearables Help Customers Manage Holiday Spending, the executive explained how Citi wanted to serve tools to its customers that will make for a much easier and organized holiday shopping season, and wearable technology made it possible. While shopping during the holidays can quickly sneak up on consumers, the bank is hoping they will leverage its services more with features that track purchases and notify users through short moments on the Apple Watch to prevent over spending.

“It is great that we are all driving holiday shopping but we know that informed consumers make better choices and wearables hopefully have a role to play in that,” said Andres Wolberg-Stok, global head of emerging platforms and services at Citi Consumer Banking. “In our case from the perspective of being able to keep a finger on their holiday spending instead of just realizing a few weeks later all this shopping adds up quickly.

“We thought the abililty for shoppers to control in real time their spending through wearables would be a big contribution to holiday shopping,” he said.

Holiday shopping
This holiday season Citi customers through the Apple Watch will receive push notifications alerting them of credit card purchases. Users can choose to interact or easily dismiss the notification.

Citi believes the it is the first bank to develop an Apple Watch app, and jumped to the chance at creating it prior to the device even releasing. The financial institution felt as though it could serve customers more useful tools through the wearable device.

During development of the app, Citi had to overcome a few hurdles that arose because the Apple Watch itself had not been made public yet. The bank did not know what consumers were going to want and how they would react.

While marketers and retailers are still widely unsure of how exactly to tackle the Apple Watch, Citi has determined various aspects of designing an app that will make the most of the technology.

For instance, retailers introducing an app on the smart watch must make it personal. The small screen and operation system create a much more intimate experience, and retailers must play into that with their apps.

Also, developers must design the app for the device instead of simply recreating their iPhone app. Operation and use of the Apple Watch vastly differs from use of the iPhone, so it is imperative that developers keep the device they are design for in

User first
The app should be designed with speed in mind. Users do not want to be holding up their arms for an extended amount of time.

While speed and size are imperative with this device, this means that the content served must be important. Overloading users with irrelevant content can be detrimental.

It is also vital for retailers to make sure they are providing the most secure platform, as financial security on digital devices matters a great deal to consumers.

“Financial services in general have been on this quest to get out of the branch and as close as possible to their clients to give them maximum control over their finances,” Mr. Wolberg-Stok said. “It becomes increasingly personal, increasingly close and increasingly there all the time.

“Your ability to stay in touch with your accounts as you follow that progression keeps on increasing,” he said. “The challenge is no one yet really knows what yet people want out of wearables.”

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily