Fees Tied to Lifestyle Endorsed by Consumers, Study Finds
The results of Market Rates Insight’s first nationwide integrated study on service fees revealed that credit union members are more willing to pay for “lifestyle financial services”–financial services that support mobile, efficient lifestyles–than bank customers are.
According to the San Anselmo, Calif.-based research firm’s study, with is based on a poll of more than 1,500 consumers nationwide, 68.7% of credit union members said they would pay an average of $3.63 per month for lifestyle financial services, compared to bank customers’ 66.3%. The top service consumers said they’d personally fund was identity theft protection, with more than 82% of all consumers saying they’d pay an average of $4.07 per month for the service. Coming in second was credit score reporting. More than 73% of all consumers said they’d pay an anverage of $3.39 per month for it.
Market Rates Insight Executive Vice President Dan Geller presented the study’s findings in two webinars, which he said attracted much interest. Bank and credit union executives specializing in product development, marketing, research and analysis from across the country participated in the webinars, he said.
“There were two findings that stood out in the survey,” Geller said. “The first was that consumers can distinguish between traditional service fees and fees for services that support the lifestyle of mobility. The second was that the level of desire for these services is huge, with seven out of 10 credit union members stating they would pay for these services.”
He said the results indicate that lifestyle financial services are an untapped source of noninterest income for financial institutions, especially for credit unions, due to members holding greater expectations for the services.
“The results send an important message to credit unions,” Geller said. “Across the board, bank customers and credit union members perceive the value of lifestyle financial services and are willing to pay for them. But the difference with credit union members is that they expect their credit unions to provide these services because of the family-like atmosphere credit unions provide.”
For the study, Market Rates Insight asked participants about their overall perceived value and overall likelihood of use for seven different lifestyle financial services. In order, from highest to lowest, the services ranked as follows in both categories: identity theft alerts, credit score reporting, personalized couponing, overdraft transfer service, person-to-person payments, mobile remote deposit capture and prepaid reloadable cards.
Geller said credit unions can fully leverage the results of the study by reviewing the results in their entirety, which include age and gender specific responses and can help them determine which lifestyle financial services would best fit their fields of membership. Credit unions can obtain the study by contacting Market Rates Insight at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The results were a wake-up call,” Geller said. “They show that the notion of no one wanting to pay service fees is a misconception.”