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Pay-what-you-want GoBank puts mobile users first

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A new player has emerged at the forefront of mobile banking with the hopes of capturing the nation's youngest banking audience and setting the tone for what it means to bank virtually.

Launched to the public on Tuesday, GoBank is the first bank designed specifically for mobile use. All functionality is available through its app, everything from opening your account to paying bills to managing your budget.

The bank, which is FDIC-insured, offers both a checking and savings account, a debit card, mobile check deposit, bill pay, person-to-person payments, a budgeting tool, direct deposit, and a network of 42,000 ATMs.

And what may prove to be most appealing to potential customers: There are no fees for anything. There are no overdraft fees, no ATM fees, no minimum balance requirement, free person-to-person payments no matter what bank the recipient uses, and free bill pay.

In fact, GoBank shuns perhaps the most irritating part of being a bank customer in recent years and takes it to the opposite extreme: Customers get to decide how much they will pay each month for the service. They can set the amount between $0 and $9 a month.

The "pay what you want" fee structure is part of CEO Steve Streit's way of being customer-centric.

"We work for tips," he says. "The downside is nobody may pay us anything. But I think most people will pay us something."

Created with the burgeoning Millennial customer in mind, GoBank's mobile-only strategy takes advantage of the ability to focus solely on a clean, intuitive app over the development of thousands of branches, and appeals to the digital way of life that comes naturally to the country's youngest adults.

GoBank has been in beta testing since January, acquiring fewer than 10,000 customers by invitation only between then and now. While the test period attracted users between the ages of 35 and 45, Streit expects that to drop to the 20- to 35-year-old range now that the app is open to the public. The bank is being especially marketed to college students, with a partnership that will include promotional displays in 555 of the nearly 700 college bookstores operated by Barnes & Noble.




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