Green Dot takes 'Silicon Valley' approach; launches mobile-only bank account
16 January 2013 | 7467 views | 1
Green Dot Bank has launched a full-service bank account specifically designed to operate on a mobile phone.
With GoBank, members have full access and control of their money from their iPhone, iPod Touch or Android device, and can withdraw cash from more than 40,000 fee-free ATMs in the US.
Launching in limited release, with general availability to come later this year, each GoBank account comes with a linked Visa debit card and a second integrated bank account called the "Money Vault" that's designed to be an easy way for GoBank members to put money away for savings.
Steve Streit, founder and CEO of Green Dot, says: "Until now, banking is one of the few industries in the world that hasn't yet been reinvented by Silicon Valley. GoBank is designed from the ground up to be the bank account for the smartphone generation. Once you start using GoBank, controlling your money becomes as intimate and addictive as checking Facebook or texting friends."
Extra features include debit card customisation and a 'fortune teller' budgeting tool which when prompted cross-checks the price of an item with the member's integrated GoBank budget, and if they can't afford it they'll be advised in real-time to pass on the purchase.
GoBank also allows members to use "Slide for Balance" on the app's login screen to take at peek at their available balance without logging in.
Multiple deposit options include remote cheque capture through the onboard mobile camera and debit card transfers from other bank accounts. Users may also deposit cash at select Green Dot retail partner locations nationwide.
Fees vary across the account, and include a voluntary monthly membership fee up to a maximum of $9 per month. Making the monthly fee voluntary ensures that anyone who wants to use GoBank can become a member without being denied access based on their ability to pay, says the firm: "Allowing the customer to voluntarily pay what they think is fair gives the customer the power to 'punish' or 'reward' GoBank based on how they feel about the product. This provides an emotional benefit for the member because it puts them in control of their bank."
Sam Altman, executive vice president of Mobile for Green Dot says: "Our GoBank product and technology team is populated by digital natives who grew up with the Internet and mobile phones being central to our daily lives. So, our goal was to reinvent personal banking and create a bank account that understands how people in our generation live, work and play and how we think about money."
In March last year, Green Dot moved to buy Loopt, a location-based mobile rewards marketing specialist, in a cash deal worth $43.4 million. The acquisition came three months after the pre-paid card outfit - given the all-clear to acquire a bank in November 2011 - hired Visa's head of global development John MacIlwaine as it new Chief Information Officer.