@Banks: Blippy & Swipely | Social Shopping…at Last!
One of the uphill strategic struggles I faced while working in online and mobile consumer banking was the development and publishing of personal transaction information. The banks and card issuers already publish this data on their online account management sites and even before the Mints and the Wesabe’s of the world started aggregating and publishing this data, I pushed hard for users to be able to get and share transaction information quickly and easily. The potential benefits were manifold:
- Instant purchase record or receipt, giving users the ability to track spend for a variety of reasons including:
- Warranties and returns
- A watchful eye on youthful card holders
- Reminders of your spending habits
- Sharing noteworthy purchases with friends
Unfortunately, the world of banking is one where regulatory issues and privacy concerns run amok. Not to mention the cadre of attorneys who could find a liability scenario in my morning parfait cup would shoot these ideas down faster than you could gradient shade a Powerpoint chevron.
So, it warms my pro forma heart to see that Blippy has done well in attracting users (although their exposed card number snafu was a bit of a stumble) and it is great to see that Swipely has raised a solid round with big backers. The ability for financial services startups to raise funds from non-financial services sources will drive the innovation message further, faster, than the intra-industry strategies that I have been a part of.
From my usage of both services, one of the key early differentiators is that Blippy allows you to link accounts other than your credit or debit plastics like your iTunes account. With Swipely, you have to go whole hog and it only works with your card number. It’s a subtle but interesting strategic choice that puts Blippy into more of a social media enabling model and puts Swipely closer to the financial services space.
My sense is that Blippy will foster early user adoption because of the ease of just sharing a particular type of transaction that is suitable to socializing, such as media purchases, a cool Groupon or your Seamless web food delivery orders. Revenue opportunities from the emerging business models of the networks that Blippy feeds with transaction data such as Twitter, Foursquare and Gowalla will provide them a pool to drink from once they have some cross marketing strategies in place.
Swipely on the other hand will be in a good position to extract value from the consumer financial services sector in their extremely well funded efforts to drive customer loyalty and increase usage of their debit and credit plastics. It is also key to note that Swipely’s model does not preclude revenue opportunities from the social networks, it just makes them more accessible to the banks and card associations.