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Banks dial in to new, hot tool

By David McMillin · Bankrate.com
Friday, December 30, 2011
Posted: 10 am ET

It looks like banks will begin using a smartphone-based tool to attract your business in the new year: QR.

According to Javelin Strategy & Research's new report on the top 10 trends for 2012, the research company predicts financial institutions will begin to leverage QR, or quick response, codes to attract new customers and engage existing account holders. Here's an excerpt from the report:

QR codes provide a faster, better and often cheaper way for (financial institutions) to implement targeted marketing campaigns. Consumers can scan QR codes with their smartphones and quickly access the online informational world.

Unfamiliar with QR codes? They're the new, strange matrix barcodes found on anything from billboards to Coke bottles, and they link users to online content. In the banking industry, I would expect the trend to be used for promotional offers for new customers.

It's no surprise banks are looking to amplify their marketing efforts in 2012. As many account holders voiced complaints over new fees and subpar customer service, I'm guessing many members of the banking industry are searching for new ways to grow their customer base.

The report form Javelin highlights one of the main benefits of this marketing method, too. It's cheap. Some financial institutions continue to mail postcards about bonus offers for opening a checking account, but loads of paper, printing and postage costs add up. QR codes will keep marketing budgets low while appealing to a certain segment of consumers. It seems like mobile users who are willing to scan a QR code would be the same type of consumer who would download mobile banking apps, enroll in online bill pay and explore the slate of innovative tools that make banking more convenient and cost-effective

What do you think? Would you scan a QR code to discover banking content? What kind of bank marketing methods have appealed to you?

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