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Digital banking fees on the way?

By David McMillin ·
Friday, January 27, 2012
Posted: 9 am ET

As the banking industry works to determine how to increase profits, it appears the answer may lie in an obvious place: the Internet.

In a new survey of more than 3,000 consumers around the world, the majority of account holders indicated they are are willing to pay around $15 each month for digital banking services. "The new digital tipping point," a report from consulting firm PwC that analyzes the survey's results, highlights the move to mobile and online personal finance tools. The conclusion: Members of Generation Y will lead the accelerated shift to digital and search for banks to lead the way with new tools and features.

Here's a look at the top three digital offerings that respondents would be willing to pay for at banks:

  • Twitter/Facebook account notifications.
  • The ability to store loyalty card info and convert points to cash.
  • Spending analysis tools.

It turns out account holders are willing to pay a premium for good customer service, too. In the U.S. alone, more than 60 percent of respondents answered they have spent more on a product or service because of a history of good customer service with the company.

The results are quite surprising to me. From monitoring social media posts during the hoopla of Bank Transfer Day to reading comments from readers right here at Bankrate, it seems that most customers will not tolerate any additional fees. However, the PwC survey shows account holders aren't just looking for the cheapest way to handle their saving and spending. Many of them are looking to jump on the next wave of innovation even if it comes with a price tag.

Currently, we see a lot offerings at banks that give account holders the opportunities to avoid fees, such as enrollment in paperless statements to bypass a monthly maintenance fee. With account holders indicating a willingness to shell out some cash, be on the lookout for opt-in offerings that add fees in exchange for access to emerging account features.

What do you think? Would you be willing to pay for more sophisticated online and mobile tools for your money management?

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February 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Sounds like a bogus study by the banks no doubt to support charging internet fees. I'd like to know who these "people" are that are willing to pay these outrageous fees. Must be the same folks who supported Debit card fees.

Jean Kelly
February 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm

I will NOT pay a digital bank fee...I keep between $8K to $10,000 in my checking account and they pay me pennies...NOPE not a dime will I pay for this service when they are using my money...

February 28, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Are you kidding? We let them let go reduce staff by half of the human bank tellers [firing or attrition], and they want to charge an ATM fee. We let them skip the ATM for a lot of transactions, and now they want to charge us for using our own computer to make minor adjustments!!

We keep letting them use cheaper and cheaper technology [humans (big overhead with benefits, educated, some special knowledge) -> ATM networks (Servers and ATM kiosk network) -> just PC's (and just servers!)] and they want to charge us MORE for the 'convenience'?? Their greed is so RAMPANT! It knows NO bounds! They need to readjust. The glory days of doing as they pleased are over. The big reason they are over is they abused their customer base before, and government stepped in to stop it. Now they are just looking for a different way to make the outrageous profits of the past.

February 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Used to be that anyone could start a bank, but today the entire banking industry is a protected business, governed by the large banks who also just happen to pull the strings in congress. Too bad, cause if it weren't so, I'm sure someone would open a bank that offer features that most consumers would appreciate, like not gouging and not sucking.

Mattie the Boxer
February 27, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Never in a million years! Banks already make enough off of the "priviledge" of holding our money in various accounts. If they think I can't manage my money without using a bank they are sadly mistaken. I can manage just fine holding my own cash and paying bills with Money Orders and the U.S. mail. So far I have been pleased with the bank I use. But if they try to start charging me to use my account for anything online or for the use of my debit card, my accounts will be closed faster than they can say "we need to charge you for ... !

February 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm

No way would I pay for the convenience of online banking. For that matter, no way would I bank at a bank. Credit Unions are the way to go. Ours reimburses for non-credit union owned ATMs.

February 27, 2012 at 12:24 am

I would NOT be willing to pay my bank money for money management tools ... How is that a good management of my money? My bank charges me a fee only to use non-network ATMs. I don't have fees for online banking, calling customer service, or any of that stuff. If they were to start charging me a fee to use my money, I would stop using them, plain and simple. I also agree with custas. Take a survey of the people here in the US only, and see what answers people would give.

February 26, 2012 at 7:30 pm

When digital access first came about, they wanted to start charging us for talking to a real person, now they want to charge for accessing digitally. Essentially, if I read this right, they want to charge me to access my money, no matter how I access it...time to start stuffing my matress.

February 25, 2012 at 12:20 pm

"In a new survey of more than 3,000 consumers around the world" ...

This is irrelevant. The survey should be of US consumers.

February 23, 2012 at 1:20 am

Amazing how the banks have convinced us that we can't function without their "convenience"? Make your payments a week earlier and use snail mail! .50c for a money order, .50c for a stamp!
Paying cash makes you hold onto your money, not so many "convenient" impulse buys!
Old school logic!