Below are interesting stories the Banking.com staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below or Tweet @bankingdotcom.
- In Payments, Facebook Isn’t Friending Banks
Facebook Inc. is known globally for taking the social media world by storm. What’s gotten far less attention is how its payments revenues have been growing gangbusters and how its digital currency could soon threaten banks as it moves into traditional channels. Facebook generated about $557 million, or roughly 15% of its revenues, from “payments and other fees” last year, according to the S-1 it filed Wednesday in advance of a planned initial public offering. That figure is a five-fold increase from its $106 million in payments revenues in 2010, which was itself up from the $13 million the year before.
- Dwolla Raises $5 Million in Venture Funding
Alternative payments provider Dwolla Corp. has raised $5 million from a group of investors led by Union Square Ventures. Other investors for the Series B round of financing included Thrive Capital, Village Ventures, Marc Ecko and Paige Craig, the Business Insider reported on Tuesday. Albert Wenger, a managing partner at Union Square Ventures, will join the board, the website reported. Through Dwolla, users can send money to others via social networks and pay for items with their telephones. The company charges a flat fee of 25 cents per transaction and transactions of less than $10 are free.
- With 5.6 Million People and Counting, the ‘Move Your Money’ Campaign Worked
Back in October, in the thick of the Occupy Wall Street protests, we gave you step-by-step instructions for leaving your large predatory bank. Part of the impetus for the project was OWS, of course, but another factor was the establishment of “Bank Transfer Day,” which asked people to drop their big banks in favor of community banks or credit unions by November 5. Almost immediately, data showed that the transfer movement was working, with some credit unions reporting spikes in membership as large as 30 percent. Today, we have even more concrete numbers to show that the “move your money” movement was a success, to the tune of millions of people.
- Banks to Increase Digital Media Efforts
Few industries are experiencing the kind of negative push-back that consumers reserve for banks. If they’re not looking over their shoulder in fear of a general economic collapse, consumers are concerned that their own personal financial situation is threatened. Executives at banks of all sizes understand they need to improve their image and communicate a message of stability and optimism this year. Surveyed bankers acknowledge that they have detected growing consumer angst by listening to feedback via call center interactions, account closure data and formal customer surveys.
- Customers Show Little Love for Banks’ Money Management Tools
Many of the nation’s banks already offer tools to help customers track and manage their money, but few customers actually use them — suggesting that these customers need to be educated on how to use these tools. Online personal financial management (PFM) tools have become ubiquitous following a financial crisis that steered American consumers toward smarter money habits. While tools such as Mint.com and Quicken are among the biggest names in the game, consumers should know that there is a good chance that their bank offers in-house PFM tools. However, only small portions of customers use these tools while plenty of others don’t know about them.
- A New Coupon Source: Your Account Statement
Consumers typically scan their online checking and credit-card-account statements just to see what they’ve spent. But these days a closer look may turn up some great opportunities to save — or more enticements to shop. Banks have long arranged special deals and discounts for cardholders, delivered through emails, brochures and special online promo pages. But increasingly, customized offers based on consumers’ spending habits are appearing via links in online checking and credit-card statements.