Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bank rates for consumers at all time high

Banks across the country continue to press the metal to bring in more fee income. The pressure is on - 'big time'.

Without making a political statement here, banks must find more ways of generating fee income. From the expense side, banks are 'staring down the barrel' of Congress and the Fed who may impose 3X the FDIC premiums previously charged. At the same time banks are 'taking heat' from those who believe that overdraft and other bank charges are onerous. With the federal government's involvement, banks must consider changing their pricing (overdraft fee) policies just as Bank of America recently announced.

While all of these issues are being debated, today the South Florida Business Journal online, referenced a Banrate article which illustrates the continual year to year increases in bank fees. Consumers on average are paying higher monthly service fees, overdraft fees, NSF, ATM transaction fees and various interest and non interest checking account fees.

It's no wonder consumers are looking for alternatives. Prepaid cards and payroll cards like Directo's DirectoPlus and DirectoCash cards are on the rise. "We are seeing a greater acceptance", CEO Bob Howe reports.

The next question on the horizon, how will the impending credit card crisis impact consumers? What will be the impacts and outcomes as interest rates rise for the common consumer? Will debit transactions continue to outstrip credit transactions? It sure looks that way.

Time will tell.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Starbucks is testing a payment innovation with big possibilities

The New York Times reported today on a Starbucks app for the iPhone that lets the customer store favorite coffee drink types on a list, then tap on their choice while waiting in line at Starbucks. The iPhone screen then displays a barcode for the barista to scan. Read the story.

You may not be a Starbucks customer, but rest assured that this technology will pop up somewhere in your life soon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Text Alerts improve customer experience, reduce payday phone calls to your office

This week Directo launched Text Alerts for the Directocash paycard. On payday (or other days the cardholder selects) a text message is sent to the customer's cell phone with their account balance.

There is no charge for this service, and the customer can also edit the phone number online whenever they change phones or providers. They can also request account balances, mini statements, and amount of last direct deposit at any time, for a small fee.

Besides the convenience for employees, Text Alerts will eliminate many of the phone calls that companies receive from employees who want to know if they were paid and the amount of their pay.

Text Alerts are already a hit. Before the announcement emails went out, savvy customers were already clicking through to enroll themselves!