Next year, American consumers can find some consolation in the lack of any impending federal legislation that would have the widespread repercussions as the Durbin Amendment did in 2011.
In 2012, the banking industry will place emphasis on technology and pushing customers to rely more on these offerings.
1. Premium accounts, those that cater to customers with larger balances, will begin to offer more perks and discounts on banking services.
2. Major retail banks will adopt simplified account disclosure forms to make it easier for consumers to understand account terms and fees.
3. Relationship banking has been identified as a way to increase the “stickiness” of customers (making them less likely to leave). Therefore, banks will launch initiatives to get customers to open more accounts and keep more money with them.
4. Banks will charge for mobile and scanner check deposits before the highly-demanded service becomes a “standard” as debit cards have become.
5. Due to the Federal Reserve’s projection of low rates going into 2013, the interest rates on deposit accounts will continue to fall in 2012, deterring more and more Americans from saving.
6. Banks will begin to offer more prepaid cards and products because they are not impacted by the new debit card swipe fee caps and they are becoming more popular among consumers.
7. New/higher fees will be introduced for bank-assisted services that customers can easily do on their own through ATMs and the Internet. This is a measure to cut costs and recoup revenue that was lost from reduced debit interchange fee revenue.
8. More banks that are wholly owned subsidiaries with insignificant revenue compared to the parent company would be sold off to avoid banking regulations. Suitors are likely to be non-bank financial services companies.
9. Mobile banking applications will continue to expand with new features such as rewards redemption, photo bill pay, and ATM access.
10. More low-tier credit cards will be enhanced with EMV chip technology, which complies with the merchant acceptance standards already in place in many developed foreign countries.
11. The biggest banks will tinker debit cards to offer merchant-funded rewards after dropping traditional debit card rewards programs in 2011.
12. The increased focus by mobile services providers, major payment processors, and technology companies on near field communications (NFC) tech means the U.S. retail industry will experience a significant rise in mobile payments.
13. More non-bank startups like Simple, Movenbank, SmartyPig, and PerkStreet Financial will enter the fray to revolutionize the way we conduct banking.
What are your banking predictions for 2012?