Viber gets in-app mobile banking system
Popular messaging application Viber is getting a much-needed commerce twist with the integration of an automated banking system, further signaling the blurring between messaging platforms and other mobile functions.
The new feature is being built by Comtrade and will see the integration at several participating banks. The banking system expands the app’s functionality beyond simple messaging and into other services as well.
“This solution is going to transform the payments world for retail banks, payment processors and their customers,” said Oliver Lynch, business development director at Comtrade Digital Services. “Most banks now have a mobile app, but they don’t provide such innovative, instant payment options as this.
“This is the only messaging platform that, through an API, can be directly integrated with banks’ existing digital banking channels.”
Mobile messaging services used to be known for one thing – messaging.
As counterintuitive as it may seem, that is not the case any longer.
With the massive update to Apple’s ubiquitous iMessage service, adding a dedicated app store and expanding the capabilities of the messaging app, the landscape that was already shifting towards all-purpose messaging apps with a variety of functionalities was finally given the shove it needed.
Now messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger are cramming their platforms full of services and features that expand the borders of what a messaging app can be.
Now Viber is taking a step in that direction as well with the integration of a banking system that will live inside the messaging app and allow users to send and receive money as well as make other financial decisions without ever leaving Viber.
The banking system will make use of a chatbot and will work with a variety of participating banks. Consumers can interact with their banks and make financial changes all by communicating with the chatbot within Viber.
The demographics of who uses what on mobile devices show that younger consumers generally favor messaging applications, such as Viber or Kik, that let them combine the convenience and omnipresence regular mobile services with the social aspect of messaging.
As many messaging services begin to fill out their services with more features, messaging platforms are only expected to grow ever-outward, absorbing in functionalities from many other types of apps.
This happens for a number of reasons, chief among them that apps take up valuable storage space on a phone and housing those services in an app removes the download requirement.
An executive from Snaps, a company that works exclusively in this area, told Mobile Commerce Daily recently that messaging would soon become the new operating system of phones (see story).
And for an example of how brands are already latching onto this trend, look towards Dunkin’ Donuts, who have made strong use of messaging as a platform to purchase orders and send gift cards to friends (see story).
“At Comtrade Digital Services, we are constantly telling businesses that they must be willing to embrace and drive digital transformation in order to stay ahead. That is exactly what Viber has done and I expect many will follow. This marks a whole new era of banking and we can expect a significant proportion of the world’s micro transactions to be carried out over messaging apps and social media platforms in the future.
“Now, it is time for the world’s banks to welcome this new era and seek innovative solutions that will help them retain and attract customers – or be left behind.”