The iPhone addiction has pushed corporations across industries to launch custom-made applications that boost sales and generate business opportunities. Retail banks have been the latest to jump on the bandwagon and are launching, in growing numbers, iPhone applications that optimise convenience and enrich consumers' daily experiences.
"Technology brings value and timely convenience to our e-savvy customers," explains William Leung, executive director and head of personal banking at Hang Seng Bank. "These consumers are also the best customers for the future of the bank. They not only have a tendency to conduct more transactions, but costs to serve them are lower as they are not required to be physically present at our branch offices."
E-banking has developed into an important service channel for Hang Seng in recent years. The bank estimates that more than 50 per cent of all its transactions and inquiries made by customers are now performed online.
The bank's newly launched foreign exchange margin trading iPhone application extends the bank's mobile financial services. The online platform allows customers to trade, place conditional offers and make order inquiries, in addition to accessing forex quotes and charts, news, figures and analyst commentaries.
Up to 3,500 users have downloaded the trading application since its launch in July.
"With the iPhone's online streaming functionality, users can view better quality graphics and the speed is also much faster," Leung says. "The application can help customers capture timely investment opportunities, allowing them to check the market and place orders any time, anywhere."
The Bank of East Asia, which launched its iPhone application this month, believes the quality and richness of the application not only meets the needs of existing customers, but can also draw new customers.
The application consolidates commonly used banking and financial services such as balance inquiry, fund transfer, stock trading and bill payment into one functional bundle.
"Technology has opened up new markets, new products/services, and new delivery channels for the banking industry. Although technological innovations constantly appear in the marketplace, we believe in introducing innovative services that bring tangible benefits to our customers," says a Bank of East Asia spokesman.
Citibank's multiplatform mobile application also helps users make the most of the bank's special offers.
A location-based technology, for example, enables customers to search nearby privilege offers, while a rewards calculator helps to figure out the number of reward points or rebates consumers can earn by spending with the bank's credit card.
"Through continuous innovation, more services will be available through this new channel in the coming months," says Maggie Yung, country marketing director at Citi Hong Kong.