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.
- Visa’s Push a Sign that U.S. is Finally Ready for Chip Cards
Visa Inc. has introduced a series of incentives to spur the U.S. to adopt chip cards – a change once considered as likely as the country switching to the metric system. The U.S. has lagged in its adoption of the EMV Integrated Circuit Card Specifications, commonly called chip-and-PIN, which many countries use to improve security at the point of sale. Skeptics have said the U.S. banking system is too fractured to support a widespread shift to the standard, and that the cost for merchants is too high to justify installing new terminals. Now Visa says U.S. banks and merchants are ready to make the switch, and on Tuesday it set its first deadline just over a year away.
- Overdraft fees still high at nation’s largest banks
The country’s largest banks are still charging steep overdraft fees. A survey released Wednesday by the Consumer Federation of America found that the median overdraft fee is $35, the same as it was last year. The highest fees also remain $33 to $37 per overdraft. The fees can be triggered if customers overdraw their checking accounts by as little as $5.
- Leveraging Social Media For Banking
Banks are looking to get in on the worldwide social media party, and find ways to promote their online and mobile banking products at the same time. As happens in the early phase of any new medium, there are a bunch of experiments going on right now. The recent partnership between American Express and Foursquare is a prime example. Foursquare is a social networking service where members “check in” at their locations using a mobile phone to earn points and find friends. The deal rewards American Express cardholders with discounts when they check in via Foursquare at participating merchants.
- Pay More Attention to Your Website Users
When it comes to customer engagement, many big-name brands do just enough to stay one step ahead of their competition, and because of their past momentum they are able to maintain a lead for some time. However, smaller and more nimble organizations focused on creative uses of technology are starting to overtake them. Think Etsy vs. eBay, or Yodlee vs. Mint. There are plenty of articles out there focused on how small businesses should approach building a Web presence, but they tend to focus on topics such as search engine optimization and how to leverage social media.
- Who Needs Bank Branches?
Here’s the deal. You have your paycheck deposited electronically at the discount broker, just as you would at a bank. You get checking, a debit card and online bill paying, all free. When you need cash, you get it from any bank ATM you want, and Schwab and Fidelity will reimburse you for the ATM fee. A similar rebate is offered by USAA, a mutually owned firm that started out selling insurance to veterans and is now running a de facto national retail bank out of a single branch in San Antonio
- Speaking Of…
Michael Coral of Gonzo Banker had an interesting call with Equifax the other day. Here are a few snippets of his conversation. Equifax, “Good afternoon, Mr. Croal Dude. We see you have maxed out your credit cards and your home equity line of credit. We are putting you on notice that if you don’t call Chase and get those limits increased, we will have no choice but to drop your credit score.” CroalDude, “Yeah, yeah, I know. I am in the process of cancelling my yardman, my bug guy, the alarm monitoring that I never set, and cuttin’ off my no-good brother-in-law. Therefore I will be reducing my expenses so paying those bills won’t be a problem.”