Over the next few months, the ways that consumers manage their finances will begin to be gradually redefined. While it will take some time to see these changes, as that day approaches, you may not look at value and your bank account as you have in the past.
The value for a product or service has always been more than a price tag, and that’s probably especially true for a financial service. It’s also about convenience, reliability, advice, service and what you want as a consumer. More than ever, value is a matter of perspective and personal choice.
Consider your favorite television program. Thirty years ago—back in the days of Dallas and M*A*S*H—television offered limited options. It was free to the consumer (subsidized by advertising), but there were few options (three networks). And if you wanted to watch a favorite show, you had to arrange your life around when it came on.
Today, your favorite show could be on one of a thousand channels or viewed on a host of different devices—mobile phone, computer, DVR, BluRay. You have a world of choices, and depending on your lifestyle, can choose options that fit what you’re willing to pay for any or all of these conveniences.
Back then, banking was similar, and our delivery channels were few. The number of options available to withdraw your money was limited, and your days revolved around trips to the branch for cash. Not everyone took credit and not everyone took a check, either. And if you ran out of money, hopefully someone could spot you until payday.
Today, the ease of accessing your money is something we almost take for granted. You can still visit a branch, but now you can also use an ATM, phone, computer or mobile phone around the clock…and you can also pay your bills, send someone a personal payment and a lot more through your bank.
It took a long time for technology, innovation and new regulations to re-engineer television viewing to the multi-channel, digital platform that it is today. The industry is now significantly highlighted by nontraditional providers, innovation and competitive pricing—through multiple platforms and venues and on products as different as DVDs are from streaming downloads.
In many ways, the banking industry is headed in a similar direction for similar reasons. There is no question that people need and value the services offered by a bank. But banks and consumers face somewhat of an ironic challenge: both must place a value on the menu of services and conveniences that are new or were seemingly free in the past, though they were actually paid for by fees on other services.
What is it worth to be able to watch your favorite college football game when you want, whether it’s on a traditional channel or not? Similarly, just how valuable are convenience, guidance, security and dependability in your banking relationship? Given the stiff competition and the number of non-bank providers that offer financial services, there will likely be plenty of options to meeting your financial needs—piecemeal or in whole. What’s the best bundle for you? iBi