Albany, NY (PRWEB) August 12, 2014
Due to changes in regulatory frameworks and competitive dynamics, retail banking and its current account business have changed gradually during the last decade. Despite initiatives taken by banks to retain customers, the current accounts market in developed economies recorded growing instances of account switching. Improved customer service, attractive reward programs and financial incentives offered by banks are the main factors encouraging customers to switch their primary banks.
In emerging economies, pricing has been the primary reason for the low volume of banking customers. As pricing is affected by cost pressures and changing customer expectations, banks are adopting a number of product and pricing strategies in the form of loyalty programs, incentives, packaged current accounts and customized product offerings to entice customers. Furthermore, with increasing technological advancements, banks are encouraging customers to use low-cost banking channels to conduct banking transactions, resulting in reduced operating costs and improved profitability.
With rising competition and regulatory pressure, banks in the US are increasing charges on current accounts in order to maintain profitability. Consequently, the percentage of free checking or current accounts dropped from 76% in 2009 to 38% in 2013. This has led customers to switch to banks offering no, or low, monthly fees on basic checking accounts. The UK current account market also recorded a high number of customers switching accounts. Robust customer service mechanisms, branch proximity, flexible banking hours and attractive reward programs are factors enticing customers to switch banks. The switching of accounts was further intensified with the introduction of the Current Account Switch Service by the Payments Council on September 16, 2013, which allows fast and seamless switching to new banks. For the six-month period between October 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014, 609,300 UK current accounts were switched, a 14.0% increase compared to the equivalent period in 2012 when there were 532,500 switches.
Due to firm’s capitalizing on this trend, the current account market has recorded a number of new entrants. T-Mobile, a provider of wireless voice, messaging, and data services launched a mobile-based checking account in the US in January 2014, with low banking charges. Similarly, UK-based retailer Tesco is also launching current account products in the UK through its banking arm, Tesco Bank.
Reasons to buy
Free checking accounts (accounts with no charges) are diminishing as banks impose fees to improve profitability. According to Bankrate, free checking accounts in the US dropped from 76% in 2009 to 38% in 2013. The average monthly fee of non-interest bearing checking accounts up 25% in 2012 with a monthly fee of US$5.48 with an average balance of US$723 to be maintained to waiver the surcharge fees.
The use of overdraft protection by account holders is rising rapidly in the US, making overdraft protection a major revenue-generating component for banks. Overall, 13 million consumers used overdraft protection in 2010 in the US, generating revenues of US$35.0 billion for banks. Banks offer overdraft protection to avoid the bouncing of checks, or insufficient funds in cases of debit card transactions.
According to the German Bundesbank and IMF forecasts, the German economy is expected to be relatively stable over the next five years, despite the financial uncertainties faced by most European countries. Consequently, consumer spending is expected to grow over 2014−2018. The promotion and development of payment cards will offer substantial growth for the industry. As a result of the Bundesbank’s decision to outsource more of its cash-recycling facilities to private companies, cash is likely to be less attractive for retailers, as cash-handling services were previously provided by the Bundesbank at little or no cost.
Rural and agricultural industries form a noticeable proportion of the economies in many Asia-Pacific countries. Banks and financial institutions offer current accounts to farmers and the rural population, with minimal fees, as they look to build a presence in unbanked agricultural areas. Agri-current accounts are designed for those in agriculture-related businesses or trading in agricultural commodities.
The expatriate population accounts for significant proportions of the total populations in many Middle East countries. The UAE’s expatriate population accounts for more than 80% of the total population, followed by Kuwait and Oman where the expatriate populations account for 63% and 62% respectively. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain have 30%, 27% and 26% of their total population as expatriates.
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