From New York to London, bank account holders are making their voices heard. They are eager for their card issuers and financial institutions to increase the speed and types of channels used to communicate with them in the event of account irregularities.

In a survey conducted by Adeptra of 400 bank account holders, the general consensus was, not surprisingly, that consumers want banks to quickly identify any indications of potentially fraudulent activity. Many said they expected instantaneous contact, and the majority said they would want to be contacted within an hour.

Both American and British consumers said they wanted automated voice messages for urgent matters. However when it came to receiving information via text, there were differences across the regions. In the US, where formal communication is most often done via email, 71% of respondents preferred that as their means of communication from their bank. By comparison, in the UK 61% of respondents said they would most like their bank to contact them by SMS because they more heavily rely on SMS messages than Americans.

Amazingly, postal mail still remains a common means for banks to deliver messages outside of regular statements, including notification of possible fraudulent activity. 49% of US respondents and 76% of UK respondents said their bank sent paper-based communications by post for communications other than regularly scheduled statements. This is despite the fact that the channel is obviously growing increasingly unpopular. Given a choice, only 16% of US respondents and 27% of UK respondents said they wanted to be contacted by mail from their banks.

“What we are seeing here is an obvious gap in communications between banks and their consumers,” said Bill Brown, director of Worldwide Product Marketing for Adeptra. “The results of our survey are clear: consumers want faster notification of possible fraudulent behavior on their accounts.” While this may seem painfully obvious to consumers, making the transition can be difficult and time consuming. However, banks must step up their game to close the communications gap and to reassure their customers that they are being heard. Also, with smart phone sales up 96% in 2010, consumers will continue to expect even more immediacy in communications.

Brown concluded,“While we found that overall, two-thirds of consumers said their bank had emailed them in one way or the other, the fact that consumers said they expect quicker responses for account alerts, suggests that banks are not taking advantage of the opportunities for instant communication through mobile devices. Banks should be utilizing mobile communications to reach consumers in real time and in the way they prefer. Financial institutions that don’t take hold of this opportunity will potentially lose customers, reputation and market share.”

How quickly, and by what means, does your bank communicate with you outside of regular monthly statements?

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