Tag Archives: Money

What Do Customers Want? Survey Shows Growing Appetite for More Communications

In our always connected society, we increasingly rely on real-time information and notifications in our daily lives – from checking our bank account balance on a smartphone app to getting a text message saying a prescription is ready for pick-up. And, new research commissioned by Varolii shows consumers find this type of proactive outreach from businesses extremely welcome and helpful.

This national study of 1,000 adults shows that consumers want more, not less, customer service related communication from businesses. In fact, a majority of respondents – 70 percent – believe these messages could help them avoid issues, like a late fee. And, nearly 80 percent of respondents say they trust the judgment of the companies with whom they have relationships about when, why and how to send such messages.

What About Laws Restricting Communications?

The TCPA dictates that companies cannot automatically dial or send informational text messages to mobile phones without the prior express consent of the recipient. But, consumers may have a different opinion.

The research shows nearly one in four consumers automatically assume that the companies they do business with can contact them. Eighty-four percent of respondents also strongly believe that if they give their cell phone number as their primary contact to a company, then it is acceptable for that company to contact them at that number.

This doesn’t mean we should ignore the regulations – it just means that consumers may be more open to more asks for consent. Balancing compliance and customer satisfaction is a challenge we all face today. Companies must find the right blend of customer outreach – providing the right information at the right time, via the right channel – while still adhering to various state and federal rules.

How Do They Want These Communications?

Consumers still like traditional emails and phone calls, but mobile is fast becoming the top way to reach a majority of American consumers. Today, nearly 80 percent of Americans have given their cell number to a company – with more than one-quarter of respondents indicating they usually or always provide their cell number. Additionally, consumers now favor text messaging just as much as getting a phone call. One in five respondents surveyed say text messaging is their preferred form of communication.

top preferred channels What do Customers Want? Survey Shows a Growing Appetite for More Communications

What Do Customers Want? Survey Shows Growing Appetite for More Communications, 2013, October 24, by Brian Moore, retrieved from http://bankinnovation.net/2013/10/what-do-customers-want-survey-shows-growing-appetite-for-more-communications/.

Why Business Credit-Card Holders Should Be Wary

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Most small business owners are aware that their personal finances and business finances are inextricably linked. Apply for a small business loan, and the bank will ask for a personal credit score. Miss a payment on a business credit card, and the issuer is likely to report the transgression on the owner’s personal credit profile. Credit-card issuers can also go after personal assets in the case of default.

Since issuers treat business owners as proxies for their companies, it might seem business credit-card accounts would be afforded the same protections as are personal credit-card holders. Not so, says Odysseas Papadimitriou, chief executive of credit-card comparison website CardHub.com. Four years after Congress passed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, & Disclosure (CARD) Act to make credit-card borrowing more transparent, business owners lack protection that individual consumers get.

Of the eight major credit-card issuers that offer business credit cards, says Papadimitriou in a report released today, only Bank of America (BAC) offers business card holders protection from arbitrary rate hikes on existing balances. At the other seven issuers in the report, “a credit card exec can wake up and say, ‘Today is Sunday, let’s raise rates” says Papadimitriou. Continue reading

The Commission Presents An Action Plan For The Development Of Electronic Commerce In The EU

The European Commission presented an action plan aimed at doubling the volume of e-commerce in Europe by 2015. In particular, the Communication presents 16 targeted initiatives for doubling the share of e-commerce in retail sales (currently 3.4%) and that of the Internet sector in European GDP (currently less than 3%) by 2015.

The Communication presented by the Commission puts forward an action plan which intends to facilitate cross-border access to online products and content, ultimately solve the problems of payment, delivery and consumer protection and information, and assist dispute resolution and the removal of illegal content, thus helping to develop an Internet that is more secure and more respectful of fundamental rights and freedoms. According to the Commission, the aim is to create an environment more likely to foster a dynamic Digital Single Market by tackling the problems in its path, while promoting investment in wireless connectivity and new-generation fixed infrastructure and supporting the development of cloud computing. In December 2011, the Council stressed that fostering the Digital Single Market should be a priority.

In addition, the Communication also identifies the obstacles preventing consumers and businesses from investing fully in online services, such as legal cross-border supply shortage, inadequate information and protection for consumers, inefficient deliveries and payments, illegal content that is still too difficult to manage, and the dangers of the spread of cybercrime.

However, the potential of electronic commerce and online services, according to the Communication can be up to 20% of employment and growth over the next five years. Furthermore, it will foster cohesion across Europe because the access to goods and services will also be made easier for geographically isolated or vulnerable people. The Commission also assures that if 15% of retail sales were e-commerce and the obstacles to the internal market were removed, the gains for consumers might be as much as €204 billion, or 1.7% of European GDP.

The Commission presents an action plan for the development of electronic commerce in the EU. (2012, January 11) Retrieved from http://euroalert.net/en/news.aspx?idn=14397.

Online E-Commerce In Romania Grew By 24 Percent To Nearly EUR 160mln Last Year

Electronic commerce with online payment posted a 24 percent boost compared to the previous year up to a level of EUR 158.9 million, according to data from Romcard.

“The growth of the industry is a natural phenomenon, as the industry evolves and attracts more buyers and this trend will continue over the next years,” said Cristian Herghelegiu, Country Manager ePayment, PayU Group.

Unlike other years when only certain domains registered spectacular evolution, last year all domains were on growth.

“If until recently we witnessed growth of 20-30-50 percent or even more in established industries such as tourism and telecom, in 2011 other types of products had such evolution, which is a sign that there is a permanent diversification of the purchase basket and that online acquisitions are becoming a habit,” said Marin Mitroi, general manager of Romcard.

The domains that posted the highest growth were flower sales (29.62 percent), toys (23.38 percent), presents (21.26 percent), IT products (32 percents). At the same time, online donations are had a positive evolution, with a nearly 26 percent growth compared to 2010.

Online e-commerce in Romania grew by 24 percent to nearly EUR 160mln last year. (2012, January 11). Retrieved from http://business-review.ro/news/online-e-commerce-in-romania-grew-by-24-percent-to-nearly-eur-160mln-last-year/13113/.

Research and Markets: B2C E-Commerce in Asia is an Emerging Market

(http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/221e64/asia_b2c_ecommerc) has announced the addition of the “Asia B2C E-Commerce Report 2011” report to their offering.

The Asia B2C E-Commerce Report 2011 by Hamburg-based market research firm yStats.com provides a detailed overview of B2C E-Commerce in Asia. In addition to the major players dominating this market, the report also presents figures relating to internet users and online shoppers. The report covers the most important markets in Japan, South Korea, China and India along with eleven further Asian countries.

Overall, Asia shows a very heterogeneous development in terms of internet and B2C E-Commerce. In Japan and South Korea, internet use is widely available, which spurs increased B2C E-Commerce revenue. In China, internet penetration is rather low, resulting in much growth potential for E-Commerce. The range of popular product categories varies widely, ranging from books to consumer electronics.

E-Commerce in Japan shows signs of recovery after the earthquake
In 2010, the number of internet users reached approximately 100 million in Japan, which corresponds to 80 % of the population. Following the earthquake in Japan, the major Japanese B2C E-Commerce players experienced a decline in revenue. However, now consumers are again buying more online. According to the Asia B2C E-Commerce Report 2011 by yStats.com, in 2010 Books was the most popular B2C E-Commerce category, followed by Fashion, Music and Travel. Based on unique visitor numbers, Rakuten was the most successful Japanese B2C E-Commerce player in September 2011, followed by Amazon and Nissen.

Research and Markets: B2C E-Commerce In Asia Is An Emerging Market. (2012, January 6). Retrieved from http://www.sunherald.com/2012/01/06/3669212/research-and-markets-b2c-e-commerce.html.

New Report Identifies Banking, Payment Trends For 2012

A new report from Javelin Strategy & Research identifies and evaluates the leading trends that will transform banking, payments, mobile and security in 2012. Javelin provides quantitative and qualitative research focused on the global financial services industry.

These predictions highlight a rapidly evolving arena in which tools such as mobile and social media, events like social protest, and even the actions of government regulators have a hand in guiding change.

Key trends identified by Javelin include:

Visa makes its EMV push, and issuers and merchants must contend with security, liability and infrastructure repercussions. EMV offers protection against card present fraud, but requires a complete overhaul of point of sale payments technology infrastructure. Stakeholders must still address card-not-present fraud, with merchants potentially assuming liability.

New competing technologies offer similar security for both card present and CNP transactions and still work within the existing payments infrastructure, while the up and coming near-field communication for contactless transactions utilizes the same terminals as EMV.

“It’s decision time for issuers and merchants as to whether and how they will support EMV or modified magnetic stripe technology,” said Phil Blank, managing director, Security, Risk & Fraud at Javelin. “Stakeholders need to take into consideration such factors as consumers’ willingness to use secure technology that may slightly inconvenience them, the quality of cell phone reception within stores to support NFC and what an interim hybrid solution might look like as the POS payments landscape slowly shifts.”

The movement to switch banks will force consumers to choose: fees or convenience? Although smaller FIs may charge lower fees or proclaim higher levels of customer service, they typically cannot match giant banks in terms of convenient, 24/7 multichannel banking that features extensive branch and ATM networks, online banking, bill pay and mobile banking.

“In 2012, consumers who object to bank fees will be forced to put a personal price tag on convenience,” said Mark Schwanhausser, senior analyst, Multichannel Financial Services, Javelin. “In order to provide a full range of services to attract and retain customers, FIs should upgrade with personal finance management tools that make it easy to monitor and manage money, upgrade faulty account opening processes, install and market bill pay switch kits, and build out compelling mobile banking.”

Leveraging mobile banking applications, consumers can instantly respond to an FI’s call to action and transact directly from their smartphones, while FIs can assess the effectiveness of their marketing efforts in real time, said Mary Monahan, executive vice president and research director, Mobile, Javelin. She cited QR codes as an effective marketing tool.

“To create effective strategies, however, FIs will need to consider the demographics of this user market, develop appealing incentives, thoroughly test QR codes for usability and ensure that QR codes link to mobile optimized content, supported by Android, Apple iOS and other platforms,” she said.

The report says that FIs and retailers can use geolocation to enhance the banking and shopping experiences of their on-the-go consumers. Geolocation features can alert mobile consumers to nearby ATMs, bank branches and retailer locations, deliver localized rewards and coupon offers and enable fourth factor authentication for mobile banking activities, among other services.

“To deliver high impact mobile marketing campaigns and robust mobile banking and payments services, providers will build geolocation advantages into or link them with other applications,” said Beth Robertson, CCM, director of Payments Research at Javelin.

Robertson said providers should integrate geolocation options into multichannel programs that include the delivery of rewards offers, as well as offer geolocation-based search tools that address the interests of the targeted consumer.

She also advised FIs and retailers to integrate mobile banking, mobile payments and rewards programs into social media services that leverage geolocation technology.

For more information on this topic, visit our trends/statistics research center.

New Report Identifies Banking, Payment Trends For 2012. (2011, December 21). Kim Williams. Retrieved from http://www.atmmarketplace.com/article/188342/New-report-identifies-banking-payments-trends-for-2012

Best Credit Card Perks Of 2011

Many credit cards look and act alike. Cash back rewards cards battle over seasonal bonus promotions, while travel rewards cards often rely on the reputation of their brand partners. A simple bonus, perk or privilege can win the battle for a prospective cardholder’s business. To illustrate, we’ve scoured our database for six of this year’s most unusual credit card perks:

1. Foreign transaction fees race to the bottom

For years, smart travelers sought out Capital One credit cards to avoid costly foreign transaction fees. In 2011, a handful of banks realized that eliminating those surcharges from their elite travel rewards cards added value for business travelers and affluent vacationers. American Express Platinum Card, Citi ThankYou Preferred and Chase Sapphire Preferred top the list of specialty credit cards that offer fee-free transactions across borders.

2. Priceless moments from MasterCard

After years of allowing issuing banks to define their own cardholder loyalty programs, payment platform providers launched major initiatives to differentiate their brands through special experiences. MasterCard Moments launched with extra special privileges for World MasterCard customers, including access to private culinary journeys and adventure tours.

However, the program also offers special perks that standard MasterCard cardholders can enjoy, such as a free third night at participating hotels. Free registration on MasterCard’s website can supercharge any bank’s existing rewards credit card.

3. Old-school customer service

Discover Card started the banking industry equivalent of a snowball fight last winter, with a series of ads depicting the antics of the inept customer service call center at “USA Prime Credit.” Peggy and the team highlighted frequent customer complaints about credit card companies, like obtuse reward programs and challenges resolving transaction disputes.

Chase responded with a series of ads touting live service professionals for its Sapphire credit cards. After years of outsourcing and automating back office functions, some banks have returned to high-touch customer service as a means to attract more discriminating cardholders.

4. Helping cardholders get out of debt

Balance transfer offers returned to consumers’ mailboxes in full force over the past 12 months. Slate from Chase cardholders enjoyed some of the year’s best credit card deals, with some offers combining a low introductory rate with a fee-free balance transfer.

In addition, Slate from Chase includes access to Blueprint, an online credit card calculator that helps cardholders determine how much to pay each month to eliminate their debt by a target date. Blueprint offers other nice features, as well, but the fact that a credit card company wants to help customers pay off their balances continues to earn the attention of our experts.

5. Smart social networking deals

During a year that Groupon and Living Social captured the attention of American bargain hunters, American Express launched a stealthy way for cardholders to earn deep discounts without fumbling over online coupons. The company’s “Link, Like, Love” system enables cardmembers to register once for a series of automatic rewards at well-known merchants, such as H&M, Outback Steakhouse, Travelocity, and Westin Hotels.

Small businesses can use an online portal to add their own discounts, luring new cardmember business into their establishments. Discounts show up on AmEx statements as promotional credits, eliminating confusion at the checkout counter.

6. The hottest tickets in town

As Visa and American Express battle over exclusive ticket pre-sale rights, Citi quietly assembled a credit card offering designed for people who love to entertain friends, family, and clients. Citi Diamond Preferred cardholders can access a private reserve of tickets for the top music and comedy tours, along with premium seats for Broadway shows and VIP nightclub passes. A personal concierge remains on around-the-clock standby to help secure any dining, entertainment and travel needs not already reserved for cardholders.

Credit card perks and privileges change all the time, even for existing cardholders. For instance, Visa and MasterCard increasingly offer special deals and rewards regardless of a customer’s issuing bank. However, you’ll usually have to sign up on a sponsor’s website to qualify for those special offers. In other cases, calling your existing credit card issuer may qualify you for an upgraded account with access to better perks. It’s a good idea to regularly review your statement and your issuer’s website for updates and reward details.

Best Credit Card Perks of 2011. (2011, December 14). Retrieved from http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2011/12/14/best-credit-card-perks-2011/