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Developing Services for Smartphone

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Recognizing Smartphones as Another Point of Contact with Customers, and Introducing New Services One after Another

First in the Industry to Embrace the Possibilities of Smartphones

The use of smartphones has rapidly spread throughout the world and is now an indispensable lifestyle tool for customers. When MHBK heard from customers switching from ordinary cell phones to smartphones that its website was difficult to view, it updated it for smartphone usage in June 2010. Since then, MHBK has come to view smartphones as a new service channel for customers and has been enhancing its smartphone initiatives, so that customers can use banking services, its application for locating ATMs and branches, and other services whenever and wherever they want, conveniently and with a bit of fun.

Providing Smartphone Banking Services

In November 2010, MHBK launched Mizuho Direct the first smartphone banking services offered by a bank not operating solely on the Internet. When customers use these services, they first see a list of service options on an easy–to–understand screen adjusted to fit a smartphone display. The screens, designed with an emphasis on ease of use, feature menus easily manipulated with one finger and populated with balance checking, cash transfer, and other frequently used services. After launch, MHBK's smartphone banking services have been continuously improved based on customer feedback indicating desires for features like menus offering time deposit and other asset formation services, and e–money account replenishment and other settlement–related services.

Advanced Services like an Application for Intuitive Searching for ATM and Branches

In May 2011, MHBK began offering the "ATM and Branch Locator App" developed in cooperation with NTT DOCOMO, Inc. Applying, augmented reality (AR) technology, this smartphone app takes full advantage of communication functions, GPS technology, camera functions, and other technologies to display direction, distance, and other information for nearby MHBK ATMs and branches on top of an image captured by the customer pointing his/her smartphone in any direction from their current location. This is the first application of its type in the banking industry. Compared to the provision of ATM and branch location information on the Internet, this service provides customers operability that is more intuitive and directions that are more easily understood. It offers large numbers of customers simple, stress–free searching and location of ATMs and branches. In addition, there are functions letting users know at a glance the operating hours for individual branches and which branches are barrier free, as well as displays of information on multiple ATMS and branches, the ability to search for ATMs located at convenience stores, and other services all seeking to respond to the most specific of customer desires.

Usage illustration
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The Mizuho Bank App for Making Banking Even Easier

MHBK released the "Mizuho Bank App for Android," a new smartphone service for individual customers in March 2012 and followed this up with iPhone and iPad versions in May. This app provides customers with easy one–touch access to MHBK's various smartphone services. MHBK has also provided an "Icon Arrangement Function" to allow customers to increase their ease of use by customizing icon placement, and included a "Notification Function" to provide information on new product and service launches, and service campaigns.

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The "Mizuho Bank App" screenshot

Reflecting its ongoing efforts, MHBK's smartphone banking services were being used by over 300,000 customers and its augmented reality "ATM and Branch Locator App" had been downloaded over 50,000 times, both as of March 31, 2011.

The "ATM and Branch Locator App" was recognized by the Mobile Computing Promotion Consortium (MCPC) at its 2012 awards ceremony, held in April, for its innovation, convenience, and practicality. This acknowledgement of MHBK's endeavors in smartphone banking followed the MCPC's 2011 recognition of MHBK's "Ouchi–no–Okane" smartphone application, making MHBK the first in the financial sector to receive MCPC awards two years in a row. Customers have hailed these applications for the one–touch access they provide to various MHBK services.

Going forward, MHBK will continue striving to offer services that are a step ahead of the industry to ensure Mizuho is the best choice for smartphone banking.

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MCPC awards ceremony

  • *The MCPC (Mobile Computing Promotion Consortium, Chairman: Yasuhiko Yasuda) was established in 1997 to promote the proliferation of mobile computing across industry lines. The MCPC has contributed to the expansion of mobile device markets through its development of terminal interface guidelines and numerous other standardization efforts, creation of "The Mobile Computing Guidebook," and sponsorship of "Mobile Technology Practical Seminars" and "MCPC Mobile Solution Fairs MCPC".

In addition to these activities, the MCPC has constructed advanced systems by incorporating mobile computing technology and began in fiscal 2003 to hold the "MCPC awards" as the first effort to recognize outstanding results produced by companies and organizations in Japan. As of April 1, 2012, MCPC membership numbered 174 companies and organizations.

Employee Voices

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Satoshi Nishimoto
Manager, Remote Channel Marketing Team,
Personal Marketing Division, Mizuho Bank

Responding to customer feedback saying that websites are not friendly for smartphone users, we and people from relevant divisions have gone through much trial and error to develop various services. Going forward, we will do our best to deliver new smart phone applications that make banking services even easier for our customers to use.

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