Weekly Wrap: Soon We’ll Probably All Be Part-Robot

Willy Staley

By Willy Staley
Posted on Sat May 5, 2012, Last Updated on Mon Jul 21, 2014

Willy Staley is a staff writer and columnist for MyBankTracker.com. His columns cover banking, policy, and culture. More Columns »

We like to think that our Twitter persona is slightly different from who we really are. We make a different impression in real life, we hope. In the future there may be no difference between your online and real life. Things like Google goggles, terrifying as they seem, may become more commonplace. You already walk around with a computer in your pocket that records your every move and connects you to the entire world, so you might be able to say we’re already there. This week at MyBankTracker was all about closing that gap that exists between the online and the real world. It’s a terrifying process, but it’s the only way forward, apparently.

In this vein, Chase launched a new Visa card that earns points for customers when they spend money on LivingSocial, the daily deals site that operates similarly to Groupon. For every $1 spent on LivingSocial, users get 5 points, and 3 points for every $1 spent on dining. Every other dollar earns you 1 point. Every 100 points equals one LivingSocial Deal Buck, which can then be applied to future LivingSocial deals. For the daily deals addicts among us, we guess.

While some banks are tapping into once-popular websites to create new reward deals, others are moving their online operations into the real world. Mark Bergen checked in on State Farm’s “Next Door Cafe” on behalf of MyBankTracker. The cafe-slash-community-center-slash-marketing-experiment in Chicago is the insurance company’s online bank subsidiary’s attempt to put a foot down in the real world — without actually leaving a footprint. Like ING Direct’s cafes, the cafe doesn’t take deposits. They’re just there to serve you a latte, and provide yoga classes, or talk about money — if you want. (They hope you do.)

Speaking of things geared toward young people — remember Kony 2012? The online campaign to end Joseph Kony’s reign of terror in Uganda is just two months old, but it feels much older doesn’t it? Sadly for those who would like to see Kony brought before the International Criminal Court, the viral marketing campaign’s virality ultimately led to its demise. We spoke to the good people at Kony Solutions, a banking app developer that just so happens to share a name with the notorious warlord. Obviously it was a coincidence, but are there any lessons we can learn from it? Likely not.

Speaking of banking technology, though, we had a couple interesting ones this week. U.S. Bank launched an iPad app that allows for mobile check deposit — who knows, maybe they were a client of Kony Solutions! Also, Simon took a look at tap-to-pay cards and examined whether people might be more inclined to spend more money when it’s so frictionless — he doesn’t buy it.

And, finally, we spent a half-day with the Occupy crowd as they marched around Midtown Manhattan, all of their protest targets already made public online. How does a protest movement that needs to be able to surprise its targets operate when it cannot? Quickly, is what we learned. Also, sort of amusingly.


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