BofA unveils app upgrade amid fight to become one-stop shops for money

When Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch a decade ago, the idea was to meld a vast retail bank with a leading wealth-management brokerage.

That concept is taking a step forward Thursday with new functions the lender hopes will make it easier for its mobile users to move between banking and investing services.

For instance, users of the banking app can jump quickly to the Merrill Lynch app when they want detailed trade information. The move takes one tap, eliminating the need to open and log into the Merrill app. The firm also rolled out a new dashboard that shows users in one place how they are racking up points, cash rewards and discounts across various banking, credit card and brokerage products and a new cash flow analysis tool that spans banking and investing.

“This latest update will allow our wealth management clients who use mobile apps instant, one-touch access to both banking and investment services,” said Andy Sieg, head of the bank’s Merrill Lynch wealth management division. It allows clients to “view their banking and financial assets and activities in one place and to manage the full range of day-to-day transactions with extraordinary ease.”

Bank of America, the second biggest U.S. lender by assets, has nearly 26 million users for its mobile apps. It says users are more likely to remain within a bundled ecosystem of banking and investing services. All the big banks are fighting to become one-stop shops for anything to do with money, from banking to investing to payments including credit cards and peer-to-peer remittances.

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