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Consumers want more from banks

By Claes Bell · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Posted: 5 pm ET

Consumers want more out of their banks than a debit card and a place to put their direct deposit, even if it comes at the cost of sharing information as personal as their fingerprints, according to a new report from Cisco Systems.

Banks have been worried  lately about being "commoditized," meaning they're afraid that with many banks offering essentially the same services, the only thing that will set them apart from the competition will be bank rates and fees rather than a substantially different customer experience.

But if banks are looking for a way to set themselves apart from the competition, they may just need to work a little harder. Here are some additional features consumers are looking for from their bank and are not necessarily getting them right now, according to the Cisco report, which surveyed 1,514 consumers in the U.S. and other countries.

  • 77 percent want more protection from identity theft.
  • 73 percent want advice on how to save more.
  • 67 percent want more financial education.

Consumers also are willing to make some sacrifices to get those additional features. In fact, 69 percent of poll respondents in the U.S. said they'd be willing to share personal information to get more tailored financial advice.

"If a bank has the ability to simplify the management of finances and make the experience compelling and easy, the consumer is open to having more advice delivered to him," says Al Slamecka, marketing manager for financial services at Cisco.

For instance, a customer could set a goal with his or her bank of saving 10 percent, and get real-time advice from a mobile banking app on whether or not to make a purchase in real time to meet that goal, Slamecka says.

The consumers surveyed also were willing to share more personal information than you might think.

"Interestingly, we asked, would (consumers) be willing to share biometric information like fingerprints to protect against dangers," Slamecka says. "(And) 53 percent said they would actually be willing to provide a fingerprint in exchange for protections against identity theft."

Still, consumers did have some limits. More than half said they would not allow the bank to share any of their personal information with others, even if it meant they'd get improved services.

What do you think? Would you be willing to give up personal information in exchange for improved bank services, such as help meeting your financial goals?

Follow me on Twitter: @claesbell.

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