Bank of America's David Godsman promises to support mobile payments


David Godsman

David Godsman

with Bank of America's Online and Mobile Solutions Head David Godsman

Bank of America's Online and Mobile Solutions Executive David Godsman has only been in the mobile banking business with Bank of America for under a year, but the company has already made huge strides in its mobile strategy under his leadership. The company touts 29 million active online banking users and over nine million who use mobile banking. Godsman recently spoke to FierceMobileContent about Bank of America's changing digital strategy and mobile security measures that help keep users' financial information safe and secure. This is an edited version of that conversation.

FierceMobileContent: What are some of the differences in the types of services and extras between using banking services on a handset versus a tablet?

David Godsman: We didn't want to just port the phone app over to the tablet. Instead, the layout and presentation of our tablet apps are specifically designed to take advantage of the larger real estate. We're able to present more information on a single screen and provide alternate views, such as a Calendar view for upcoming payments and transfers.

FierceMobileContent: Have you noticed any trends in what platforms are more popular with your users?

Godsman: Between the two [Android and iOS], we have a lot of individual preferences involved in our apps. iOS has been a dominant platform in this space, and we have integrated natively with many elements of the device, but as Android has rolled out we've been building on that as well.

A lot of it is preference and choice and a combination of distribution models to evaluate platforms. We just recently released the tablet app for Google Android. We've had it on BlackBerry since 2009 and an app for Windows Phone since 2011.

I think we will see different players in the space as customers show demand for them. Moving forward, we will evolve with Windows and under the Android umbrella with the Amazon Kindle Fire.

FierceMobileContent: A primary concern for many mobile users is privacy when it comes to mobile data. How do banking institutions and specifically Bank of America ensure that users can access their financial information securely via mobile?

Godsman: Security is a top concern for our customers as well as a top priority for the bank in terms of protecting their personal information. Bank of America has an award-winning two-factor authentication process called SiteKey as well as other security measures which protects the customers information.

No information is stored on the phone or tablet. We've been deliberate in creating unique customer experiences on tablets vs. phones. 

FierceMobileContent: Last month, the Federal Reserve Board reported that one of five U.S. subscribers accessed mobile banking services last year. How do you think these stats will change with the growth of mobile services?

GodsmanSo I would say two things. One, consumers are gaining confidence in the mobile space relative to security, which is the reason I see subscribers accessing mobile banking services in increasing numbers each year.

So as you think about the trajectory of mobile, you will continue to see adoption of mobile services at a pretty fast clip. I think that's the litmus test for everyone at this point.

As long as everyone can hold through to that type of methodology we can continue and try to accelerate as people get better and better at it.

Two, we are seeing significant leaps in infrastructure, so you can run multiple processes at once.

The ability to leverage this regardless of a person's technical acumen is something you got to account for. We strive so that we can meet and achieve our customer needs in this space, so that banking can become a de facto rather than an additive service.

FierceMobileContent: What makes mobile banking different from online banking?

Godsman: We have over 9 million subscribers using mobile banking. There a couple of different things that customers can do that are more comprehensive from the overall service.

The core function that customers can do is that we have optimized it for the mobile space: checking your credit cards, mortgages, paying bills and referencing e-bills and transferring money to other Bank of America customers. They are all available within mobile banking.

The user interface within the mobile space is highly intuitive, which is really one of the core components of mobile banking.

I think another thing that really differentiates is location: hyper-location. We have a greater convenience of being able to locate those ATMs or other Bank of America locations.

FierceMobileContent: Will mobile payments tie in eventually?

Godsman: We have 9.5 million mobile subscribers and we have 29 million-plus online banking subscribes. What I would say is that we spend a lot of time thinking about the next generation of payment capabilities. Today a card works pretty well, so that is the benchmark for payment capabilities.

We don't see that [mobile payments and mobile banking] as two separate entities. The question that still needs to be solved is what is the problem that we are actually solving for. I think that that's what's going to be really interesting to look at how it plays out in the next few months and, as it becomes widely available for consumers, to watch that behavioral shift.

We will absolutely support a next-gen payment capability if it benefits our customers. We just want to make sure that we enter the perfect product. We want to be right to market, not first to market. I think that's a big lens to apply to the payment space.

FierceMobileContent: What can we expect from Bank of America in terms of mobile later this year and in the future?

Godsman: We have a very exciting year planned for mobile. You will definitely see some new service offerings as we will have additional application evolution that will take place this year. We have some other large consumer initiatives that will be made available.