Apple Pay’s Secure Element: Where it Succeeds and Fails

Evan Bakker
Nov 13, 2014

An underemphasized feature of Apple’s contactless payments service, Apple Pay, is its remarkable Secure Element hardware. The much more discussed security feature, Touch ID, utilizes biometric technology that registers and responds to a single iPhone user’s fingerprint in order to authorize a transaction. Even more importantly, however, Apple Pay also communicates with a Secure Element chip installed in iPhone 6 devices that acts to safeguard a user’s financial information against fraud and data breaches.

When loading cards into Apple Pay, the Secure Element assigns each a digital token (Device Account Number) and stores only those tokens in the chip. The tokens are used as static proxy account numbers representing the user’s cards. When making payments, the Secure Element then generates a one-time unique dynamic security code for each transaction carried through the payment network. The security code acts as a proxy card code verification (CCV) and verifies that the digital token originated from the correct mobile device, authenticating the transaction.

Topics: Mobile Finance

“Invested” In Finding a Cure for Ebola

Gabriella Huddart
Nov 12, 2014

As previously discussed in the Around the Brokerage Industry: Motif Investing blog post from September 10, 2014, Motif Investing is a unique online brokerage firm that offers inexpensive bundles of individual stocks developed based on a unifying theme or “motif” for an initial investment of as little as $250. In mid-October, the firm used its distinctive business model to create a very relevant, and even more importantly, necessary new motif: “Fighting Ebola.”

Topics: Brokerage

Consulting Insights Fall 2014 Issue

Dan Wiegand
Nov 11, 2014

The Fall 2014 Issue of Consulting Insights is now available! Our cover story takes a look at the prospects for wearable tech development in the financial services industry in light of the recent Apple Watch announcement. We also explore how leading brokerages support active traders with idea generation tools, and share competitive and usability insights on mobile menu design from a recent Mobile Monitor Report. Our fourth article reviews recent industry activity in response to “robo-advisor” services from startup challengers.
Inside the Summer 2014 Issue:

Topics: Consulting Insights, Next-Generation Investing, Newsletter, Mobile Finance

What Drives Investor Satisfaction?

Anneli Lefranc
Nov 10, 2014

Corporate Insight would like to invite you to join our analyst Anneli Lefranc for a free webinar – What Drives Investor Satisfaction?

We recently surveyed over 1,500 investors to examine the relationship they have with their primary brokerage firm. We then analyzed the results, identifying the features that matter most to different types of investors and that have the greatest impact on their overall satisfaction. Our major findings were published in Corporate Insight’s 2014 Investor Survey Report.

Topics: Millennials, Financial Advisors, Brokerage, Mobile Finance, Webinar

Apple Pay Here to Stay?

Michelle Ammirati
Nov 6, 2014

Apple Pay, the latest large-scale attempt to move consumers toward the mobile wallet lifestyle, officially launched on October 20, 2014. The new service on the iPhone 6 enables seamless payments without ever showing or swiping a card. Customers can enjoy their transactions in what Apple calls “a simple, secure, and private way.”

The iPhone 6 function allows users to speed through checkout – in person and via apps – using Touch ID to verify their identity. The technology behind this process is called Near Field Communication (NFC), which, through the use of an antenna, sends information between devices, e.g., from a smartphone to a point-of-sale terminal.

Topics: Mobile Finance

October 2014 Trends & Highlights: Continued Revamp Activity, Apple Pay and Promotions

Gabriella Huddart
Nov 5, 2014


  • Site Revamps Keep on Coming – In another busy month for site revamps, New York Life revamped its public and advisor sites, while Edward Jones revamped its private site and American Funds launched a new and improved investor site. Furthermore, our Annuity Monitor, e-Monitor and Mutual Fund Monitor groups all covered Fidelity’s partial private site revamp, which featured a redesigned Accounts & Trade section complete with a new secondary navigation menu, a left-side account selection tool and redesigned pages.
  • Apple Pay Introduced to Customers – Five firms covered by Credit Card MonitorAmerican Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Citi and Wells Fargo – each introduced the much-anticipated Apple Pay service to clients via mediums such as public site information pages, step-by-step tutorials and press releases, among others.
  • Christmas Comes Early this Year – Five firms across various monitor groups introduced enticing promotions this month. Transamerica advertised a $500 cash giveaway for annuity clients who register for or are already enrolled in eDelivery. As reported by Bank Monitor, Citibank launched a new Citigold Account Package promotion, which offered a $400 cash bonus to applicants who opened an account by October 31, 2014, while Citizens Bank is offering a special online-only 1.20% APY on 15 month CDs with a minimum opening balance that expires on November 30, 2014. Already touched by the upcoming holiday spirit, Wells Fargo announced its offering of free credit scores and reports to all existing Wells Fargo customers who visit a branch before November 16, 2014 to receive their personal access code. Finally, TD Ameritrade advertised a new advisory fee rebate on its Amerivest managed portfolios that offers clients who place $25,000 or more into a managed portfolio a refund on any advisory fees if the portfolio experiences two consecutive quarters of negative performance (before advisory fees). The offer expires on September 30, 2015.


Topics: Trends and Highlights

New Advisor Monitor Research: Cultivating Ultra-Wealthy Books of Business

Nick Foster
Nov 3, 2014

This month, our Advisor Monitor team will publish a new report – Advising the 1% ­– that examines various client segmentation and referral cultivation resources that help advisors seek out and service high net worth investors. For the most part, high net worth issues are mentioned as just one part of a firm’s approach to a larger issue, such as client segmentation or referral cultivation. Firms offered a diverse mix of materials to support these topics, such as worksheets, prospecting letter templates, commentaries, and focused consulting programs.

Topics: Financial Advisors

Around the Brokerage Industry: LOYAL3

Gabriella Huddart
Oct 30, 2014

CI’s Around the Brokerage Industry series reviews public websites and digital resources offered by leading brokerages and investment firms that fall outside of our E-Monitor and Broker Monitor coverage groups. 

LOYAL3 is an untraditional San Francisco-based brokerage firm with a unique business model that offers fee-free investing to the average investor. By partnering with public companies and selling their stocks, LOYAL3 receives compensation from its partners as opposed to investors. Individual stocks can be purchased for as little as $10, and IPO stocks can be bought for as little as $100. The firm’s main “claim to fame” is its ability to offer IPOs to small investors at the same time as the traditional high net-worth and institutional investors.

Topics: Around the Brokerage Industry, Brokerage

October 2014 Advisor Thought Leadership: Diverging Fortunes

Nick Foster
Oct 29, 2014

As the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program comes to an end this month, strong trends in U.S. economic growth will likely lead the Fed to raise interest rates, in keeping with its long-standing plans. Meanwhile, central banks in Europe and Asia will consider the opposite approach in response to lagging growth, and move to expand their easing programs in an effort to stimulate growth. Investors and advisors alike need to consider how these changing monetary policies may or may not affect the investing climate at home and abroad, so this month we highlight five thought leadership commentaries that explore this divide.

Topics: Fund Thought Leadership Insights

Fidelity Adds Contribution Change Transaction Capability to Mobile App

Ciara Rafferty
Oct 28, 2014

Over the course of the last two years, the Retirement Plan Monitor group at Corporate Insight has done extensive research into the mobile capabilities of our coverage firms. When analyzing the phone and tablet applications made available to retirement plan participants, one of the things we look for are the transaction capabilities provided within the apps, such as rebalancing assets, changing allocations, and changing the contribution rate. In the February 2013 RPM Report, which focused on mobile capabilities as a whole, not a single firm in the Retirement Plan Monitor coverage group offered either a phone or tablet app that featured transaction capabilities. By the time the topic of phone apps was revisited in July of 2014, four firms offered transaction capabilities on their phone apps: ING (now Voya Financial), The Principal Financial Group, T. Rowe Price and Vanguard. Furthermore, by August 2014, when tablet apps were specifically reviewed, two firms – VALIC and Vanguard – offered transaction capabilities on their tablet apps. Recently, Fidelity joined the party by adding a new My Contributions section to its phone app and mobile-optimized website that allows participants to change their contribution rate.

Topics: Retirement, Mobile Finance

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