Two weeks ago, Bank of Hawaii released their the long-awaited iPhone app. BoH for iPhone was built by MShift, the Silicon Valley-based software firm that has built at least four other banking apps for various Mainland banks. Bank of Hawaii has begun marketing the app (which is free) to their online customers during the login process to www.boh.com
BoH for iPhone provides quick, easy, mobile access to your boh.com accounts, allows you to geo-locate branches and ATMs and transfer funds between accounts. If you’ve already sucummed to BoH’s $6 per month online payment fee, you can easily manage your payments on the go.
A few days ago I added the BoH app to my iPhone. Just as with BoH online banking, BoH for iPhone requires additional login info the first time you access your data on a new device. I find this aditional login process both good and bad. Although I’m slightly irritated by the extra step, it speaks to the larger mission of online security and protection from fraud. The app also quickly logs you out while idling for security purposes.
After successfully logging I attempted to quickly check my checking account balance, key word being quickly. Accessing the data over 3G on my iPhone 3G was slow, though it probably isn’t fair to pin this on the app itself. First, I haven’t yet tested it over wifi or on the newsest devices. Slowness can be caused by slow AT&T data, slow hardware (older iPhone) or BoH’s data servers.
Although I don’t question the inclusion of the ATM and branch finder, most folks using the app already know where their bank and ATMs are located. This strikes me as another step by the banking industry to keep their overhead low and maximize profits by encouraging people to skip a physical branch.
I’d also like to see an Android version (Google’s open mobile OS) and more intrergration with text messaging.
Slowness and other minor quibbles aside, I’d expect most iPhone-using BoH customers will find tremendous value in having the 30-days account balance and history info this app provides.