Fifth Third Bank launches mobile site, SMS alerts
Fifth Third Bank launched its mobile banking platform in select markets last month and continues to roll out the service throughout its 12-state footprint during the month of March.
The bank tapped dotMobi, the company behind the .mobi Internet addresses created specifically for locating content that works on all mobile phones, to provide the first two-character mobile Internet domain -- http://53.mobi. With Fifth Third Mobile Banking, customers can use their mobile phones to view information such as account balances and pending-and-posted transactions, to transfer funds and to find Fifth Third ATMs and branch locations.
"This is a combination of both WAP and text-message alerts, and wanted to come out with both of these technologies at the same time to show customers practical ways to utilize mobile banking," said Paul Moore, vice president/director of alternative delivery for Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati, OH.
"This provides a good opportunity for customers to be able to leverage the overall convenience of a new channel to view balances, pay their credit card bills, transfer funds and find a branch or ATM," he said.
Customers who enroll in Fifth Third's mobile banking can also sign up to receive text-message alerts regarding balance levels and statement availability.
"Text messaging alerts allow customers to stay on top of their finances and we'll use new offerings to action those alerts," Mr. Moore said. "We think that using a combination of both mobile technologies, we allow ourselves to expand the target demographic."
The text messaging initiative is targeted more towards the younger generation, although Fifth Third believes that its mobile platforms will appeal to multiple demographics.
"From a convenience perspective, having the ability to bank via the mobile channel is important for business travelers and anyone who is on the go on a regular basis," Mr. Moore said.
"The convenience of mobile banking, being able to log in and move funds and transact, appeals more broadly than most people would think, so this has the ability to appeal to multiple demographics, not just the younger population," he said.
In addition to dotMobi, Fifth Third partnered with SMS aggregator VeriSign.
"Our partnership with dotMobi for a two-digit mobile domain name is critical, because it helps us from an awareness perspective," Mr. Moore said.
Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company with $120 billion in assets.
It operates 16 affiliates with 1,309 full-service banking centers, including 93 Bank Mart locations open seven days a week inside select grocery stores and 2,347 ATMs in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Georgia and North Carolina.
Over course of a four-week period of time, Fifth Third's mobile initiatives will go live in each of those markets.
With 53.mobi, Fifth Third Bank joins other leading financial institutions in providing their customers with mobile sites to handle their on-the-go banking needs.
In January, dotMobi announced that it is making available .mobi domain names with one and two alphanumeric characters, such as q.mobi, k9.mobi, 13.mobi or ny.mobi.
These short names are custom tailored for companies who want to extend their brand with brief, memorable Web addresses.
Fifth Third Bank is among the first banking brands to do so, extending services available on their existing Web site at http://www.53.com to the mobile phone.
dotMobi is one of the very few registries that has made one- and two-character names available.
These short domain names help brands support mobile phone consumers who do not want to type long URL addresses into their phone browser for viewing mobile content.
Fifth Third operates five main businesses: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending, Investment Advisors and Fifth Third Processing Solutions.
"We're very excited to offer Fifth Third the 53.mobi domain name to complement their 53.com strategy and give their mobile home a unique identity at 53.mobi," said Amy Mischler, San Diego-based vice president of mobile marketing evangelism for dotMobi.
"And financial services/banking has really led the way in showing how the mobile Web can bring utility to customers anytime and anywhere," she said.
Other examples in the financial sector adopting .mobi names and dotMobi best practices include Fidelity (Fidelity.mobi), Wachovia (Wachovia.mobi), Commerce Bank (CommerceBank.mobi), Bank of America (BofA.mobi), American Express (AmericanExpress.mobi), Deutsche Bank (Deutsche-Bank.mobi), Standard Bank (StandardBank.mobi), Vanguard (Vanguard.mobi) and e-Trade (eTrade.mobi).
dotMobi is backed by carriers, network and device manufacturers, and Internet content providers, including Ericsson, the GSM Association, Hutchison 3, Microsoft, Nokia, Orascom Telecom, Samsung Electronics, Syniverse, T-Mobile, Telefónica Móviles, Telecom Italia Mobile, Visa and Vodafone.
Ready.mobi is a tool that tests a site's mobile readiness on a scale of one to five.
Device Atlas is a mobile device database that offers device specifications across thousands of devices to ensure that content can be adapted to the unique specifications of each handset.
Instant Mobilizer is dotMobi's most recent platform. It helps small businesses create mobile-friendly sites and content without requiring any technical skill or a dedicated IT department.
"dotMobi provides content owners of all kinds with dotMobi domain names and other services to help them produce the best possible mobile Web experience for their users," Ms. Mischler said.
"The biggest problem is discoverability -- ?How will my customers find it?' -- and it's best for mobile branding to have a short, concise mobile domain name that is mobile friendly across the entire range of devices," she said.