Cheap trumps health when it comes to choosing a checking account

Dec 16, 2015, 08:00 ET from MyBankTracker

BROOKLYN, N.Y., Dec. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans give high priority to low fees when selecting checking accounts and downplay customer service, rewards programs, even the financial health of the bank offering services, according the 2015 American Commercial Bank survey released today by MyBankTracker, a personal finance and bank ranking platform.

The six-month survey drew nearly 7,000 respondents from 50 states with concentrations from New York (10 percent), Texas (9 percent) and California (9 percent). Most participants (55 percent) were between ages 18 to 44, and more women (52 percent) than men responded.

"The findings support what we're hearing in the marketplace," says Alex Matjanec, MyBankTracker co-founder. "As the core product that consumers use to interact with their banks on a day-to-day basis, consumers have been trained to see it as the account that will cost them the most to use."

Consumers have a different focus when it comes to a checking account compared to a savings.

According to MyBankTracker, 45 percent of checking account users said low fees (monthly maintenance, non-bank ATM fees) mattered most. Twenty-six percent picked online and mobile banking services as most important, while 14 percent focused on customer service and a smaller percentage on rewards. The bank's financial health rating, reflecting the quality of its balance sheet, was important to only about 11 percent.

In addition, the survey reported what mattered most to bank depositors were high interest rates (51 percent), followed by access to mobile banking (18 percent), online chats and 24/7 availability (7 percent), and check writing (4 percent).

"As consumers look to savings accounts and stashing their cash," says Matjanec, "the mindset shifts dramatically when we look at savings accounts to bank health and the safety of their money."

Additional findings:

  • Approximately a third (34 percent) of respondents planned to put $10,000 or more in a savings account, compared to 7 percent of check users, who overwhelmingly prefer to keep a minimum daily deposit of less than a thousand dollars (66 percent).
  • Nearly three quarters (74 percent) of bank depositors do not need access to funds more than six times a month.
  • The bulk of savings depositors (63 percent) look first at bank health and high rates in choosing a bank. Only 9 percent find customer reviews most important.
  • Savers prefer to do money transactions at a brick-and-mortar bank (23 percent) to trusting to mobile technologies (6 percent).

Consumers are understandably interested in holding on to their hard earned money. No one likes to pay fees (for anything), and while they are often unavoidable, this survey demonstrates just how committed checking account users are to minimizing their burden. When deciding which product to use, they zero in on the numbers. However, this value scale switches when talking about savings accounts. In this case, consumer values are the same — to hold on to their money — but the financial heath of the bank is seen as a better way to accomplish this than low fees.

About MyBankTracker:
MyBankTracker is an independent resource that helps consumers make smarter banking and money decisions. The platform includes solutions that provide free bank information on more than 6,000 banks and credit unions and 30,000 financial products including savings, checking, mortgage, and general banking fees. It also includes "Best Of" awards and editorial analysis that enable consumers to make more informed choices, as well as an online community for consumers to share information. MyBankTracker is a leading source and authority in the personal-finance space.


SOURCE MyBankTracker