State Of The Bank: Age-Old Industry Is Losing Grasp On Consumers

What's Next In Payments®
4:18 PM EDT January 16th, 2013

A recent survey has revealed that nearly two-thirds of Americans don’t fully trust big banks, and numerous people are surprised by fees or feel they are simply unfair. When asked about their bank in particular, the vast majority of people (87 percent) do not feel their bank is transparent, and 68 percent do not perceive their bank as being “on their side.”

These perceptions are driven in part by Americans’ experiences with bank fees: 30 percent say they are sometimes surprised by unexpected bank fees, and 31 percent claim their bank’s fees are simply unfair. In addition, 40 percent of Americans say that dealing with their bank or finances stresses them out sometimes.

The survey also revealed that consumer think banks lack innovation. When asked which industries have been the most innovative over the last 10 years, banking was one of the lowest, with only airlines and pet care viewed as less innovative. The most innovative industries identified were computers and mobile phones.

“Historically, traditional bank accounts have complex fees that favor the institutions, not their customers,” said Lewis Goodwin, CEO of Green Dot Bank. “We believe people are hungry for more transparency and innovative features from their bank… the kind they often get from tech companies.”

The behavior of consumers captured in the State of the Bank survey reflects a significant change in the use of traditional bank account services. For example, 67 percent of checking account holders said they write fewer paper checks than they used to, and 14 percent of 18-34 year olds, who are checking account holders, have never written a paper check in their life. It appears that bank branches are also becoming less relevant, with 79 percent of checking account holders claiming they do not visit bank branches often.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive in partnership with GoBank. Yesterday we reported that Green Dot introduced GoBank, the first bank account designed from scratch to be opened and used on a mobile device.

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