People Entertaining Bank Account-free Notions


People still use and need their banks, but they're at least open to considering other options to pay their bills and make necessary purchases.

According to Mintel Comperemedia, 19% of consumers responding in a survey that they would be interested in using prepaid cards rather than a banking account to pay their bills. Their main motivation: avoiding overdraft and other fees.

Of even more concern for banks is that the percentage of those willing to consider the prepaid cards increased among the affluent. Of households earning more than $100,000 a year, 25% said they would be interested in prepaid cards as a bill-payment option.

"The relationship people have with their banks is [viewed as] a 'necessary,'" Susan Menke, vice president and behavioral economist at Mintel Comperemedia, tells Marketing Daily. "What's happening is that people are willing to try alternatives. Inertia has been the banks' best friend. And inertia can't drive an industry forever."



The survey findings indicate there's an opportunity for a "white knight" to lure banking consumers with new payment alternatives, whether prepaid cards, mobile service or some other technology not yet invented, Menke says.

The point is, "people are willing to entertain the notion of using alternatives to what they're used," Menke says.

These new options may want to appeal to consumers through rebates or cash-back offers for using the prepaid cards. According to Mintel, approximately 60% of consumers said they'd be interested in using prepaid cards if such offers were made; 70% said discounts at merchants would also be attractive.

People are not willing to totally give up on banks, however. According to Mintel, only 3% of consumers said they would prefer to have their paycheck loaded on a prepaid card rather than have it directly deposited to a bank or handed out in cash or a check.

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