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Wells Fargo’s mobile banking app says hola to Spanish customers

Wells Fargo & Co. has added a Spanish-language option to its mobile banking application, building on the financial institution’s introduction of Spanish Text Banking last year, as it seeks to address this demographic’s close relationship with their smartphones.

The Wells Fargo mobile banking app was recently updated to give users the option of selecting Spanish as their preferred language. The move will make it easier and more convenient for Spanish-speaking customers to view account balances, transfer funds between accounts and deposit checks from their smartphones.

“As the Latino demographic of the nation continues to grow, we want to make sure that our Latino customers’ needs are met wherever and however they wish to bank with us,” said Jason Menke, vice president of communications for virtual channels at Wells Fargo, San Francisco.

“We have created in-language experiences in our stores and call centers to meet the needs of our customers with a language preference other than English, and the Spanish preference in the mobile app continues to add to an enhanced experience for those customers,” he said.

“It also adds to the Spanish Text Banking functionality we added last year, where Spanish-speaking customers can check balances and transfer funds securely through text messages on their mobile phone.”

Language preference
To use the new Spanish-language capabilities, Wells Fargo customers who have downloaded the latest version of the app can sign on use their online banking username and password, go to Mobile Settings, go to Language Preference and select Espanol.

The upgraded app is available for Apple iPhone, Android and Windows phones.

To support its Spanish-language efforts Wells Fargo is partnering with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. The bank will donate $1 in support of Latino scholarships – up to a total $50,000 – for every customer who sets up or changes their language preference to Spanish and maintains that preference in the mobile app through April 30.

Spanish-speaking consumers are a growing portion of the United States population and a group that tends to over index in its use of mobile.

According to data from Nielsen shared by Wells Fargo, nearly three in four Latinos own a smartphone, close to 10 percent higher than the national average.

The bank also offers bilingual online tools, Spanish account statements, Spanish-language call centers and Spanish-speaking bankers.

Mobile capabilities
A growing number of marketers are looking to address the needs of Spanish-speaking mobile consumers.

In the fall of 2014, Motel 6 streamlines reservation booking in the United States and abroad for on-the-go Spanish-speaking guests by launching a Spanish-language mobile Web site (see story).

Wells Fargo’s Spanish-language capabilities on mobile are the latest way that the financial institution is beefing up its mobile capabilities.

In early 2014, Wells Fargo began testing voice command to see if it will be the next point of growth for mobile banking (see story).

“As far as what’s next, all I can share is that we’re always looking at how we can better serve our customers,” Mr. Menke said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York