When it comes to mobile banking services, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) has outrun its peers every time. While JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), and Citigroup (NYSE:C) all offer a varied palette of mobile options, B of A consistently offers the most -- and updates these offerings regularly.
Having excelled in the customer mobile offerings department, the bank is now moving into the retailer arena, offering a new way for merchants to turn their smartphones and tablets into roaming payment terminals. Though not a new idea, the dongle-based payment system will put B of A in the same space as payment giant Square, and tech biggie Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).
B of A knows a good technique when it sees one
There's no doubt that Square's introduction of the e-payment dongle revolutionized the payments industry, and for two good reasons: It is simple, and it allows merchants to turn mobile devices into hand-held cash registers. Square's recent deal with coffee colossus Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) shows just how relevant this payment style has become, despite the myriad mobile payments players around today.
Add to this concept the reality that turning a mobile device into a payment system creates multiple possibilities -- such as doing away with cash tills altogether -- and you can see the potential. Many retailers are taking advantage of this type of e-payment, sending forth clerks armed with iPhones and iPads to process customer payments with less fuss and muss than a typical point of sale system. In other words, they are adopting the Apple Store style of customer checkout.
Bank of America once again reads the market signals correctly
It is into this brave new world that Bank of America has launched its new program, proving once again that the banking giant is very adept at interpreting popular trends and taking the most desirable aspects to heart. In this respect, I really think B of A excels, and shows a move on their part toward a more focused approach to customer service than its peers demonstrate. Indeed, the bank has recently been awarded accolades from a financial research firm for its stellar customer assistance at branch locations -- once again demonstrating B of A's attention to consumer needs.
With this new initiative, the bank has made note of the trend toward mobile payment options and, I believe, has chosen the path that will lead to the dominant method of e-payment. In addition, the bank has decided to give a small but significant discount to merchants who choose their method over Square's just to get the ball rolling.
While I believe that this new product could turn into a moneymaker for Bank of America, I think it is most important to note that its attention to financial market trends, in addition to its improving customer service, will pave the way for the bank. Has a megabank finally realized that everyday people are the secret to its full recovery? I think B of A has, and it deserves kudos for doing so.
Fool contributor Amanda Alix has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Starbucks, and Wells Fargo and has the following options: short JAN 2013 $47.00 puts on Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Starbucks, and Wells Fargo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.