How Fintech Marketing Turns the Unbanked into Bank Customers

Banks have an opportunity to grow by serving millions of unbanked and underbanked people. Get fintech marketing insights to the unbanked and learn how to attract them.

In 2017, the FDIC ran their last survey of unbanked and underbanked Americans. Unbanked refers to the 8.4 million American households that do not rely upon banks or credit unions at all. This population doesn’t have bank accounts, credit cards, and other kinds of bank loans or investments. In contrast, almost 50 million U.S. adults had a bank account but still relied on non-bank services for many financial needs.

Banks can do more to understand why these people don’t access banks.  In turn, banks can use these insights to work with a financial services marketing agency to develop and promote services to more people. Helping these people benefit from banking services will give the banks a chance to grow.

Insights on the un- and under-banked from a financial services marketing agency

American Banker recently explored available research on people who rely upon non-bank, alternative financial services. With their research, they also offered some suggestions that banks could use for product and fintech marketing.

People who don’t use banks still spend plenty of money on financial services

According to the FDIC, alternative financial services can include payday loans, prepaid debit cards, onsite financing for cars, rent-to-own deals, check cashing or money order counters, P2P loans, and more. They say that more than 13,000 of these alternative financial businesses operate in the United States.

For some examples, the FDIC provided these estimates about common bank alternatives:

  • They charge fees to cash at least $58 billion in checks each year.
  • They sell at least $17.6 billion in money orders.
  • They process over 58 million bill-pay transactions.
  • They also sell hundreds of billions worth of pre-paid debit cards.

As just one example, people who got checks cashed at a check cashing service had an average check value of about $400 and typically paid over three percent of that to get their money. In other words, they had to pay about $12 to get their modest checks cashed. They also pay for such other services as money orders, paying bills, and funding prepaid debit cards.

The un- and under-banked have various reasons to use alternative financial services

People who rely upon banks a lot, use them a little, or avoid them entirely have many of the same financial requirements. They need a way to save and access money, pay bills, and sometimes, get loans. People who understand and use banking services frequently would probably say that their bank provides them with the best solution. So, why do so many other people avoid banks entirely?

According to American Banker, over half of the unbanked don’t believe they have enough money to use a bank. A smaller percentage say that banks don’t keep convenient hours or lack services that they need. Others don’t believe that banks can serve them because they have a lower income and perhaps, credit challenges.

Also, almost 30 percent of the people who used to have a bank said that they closed the account because they lost their source of income. As an example, some banks waive fees when customers have paychecks deposited directly from an employer or maintain a minimum balance. When their direct deposit ended or funds got low, the unemployed people didn’t want to incur extra fees.

As a note, American Banker also found that these populations tended to have greater percentages of unbanked and underbanked households:

  • Low income or unemployed people
  • Young families
  • Some ethnic groups

How to Improve digital marketing for financial services

A basic checking account at a bank already includes many of the services that the unbanked pay for from alternative financial services. A bank account can also provide a more convenient option.

For some fintech marketing examples:

  • Many banks even have apps that let people deposit their checks by phone and pay bills. They have ATMs, debit cards, and often, offer credit cards to customers.
  • Typically, banks will also provide money orders to account holders without an extra charge. They also offer the ability to write checks or use debit cards and even with modest credit, apply for credit cards and loans.

People who understand and frequently use banks would probably say that their financial institution offers them lower costs and more convenience than many alternatives. In general, even people who don’t use banks have mobile phones that they could use to take advantage of mobile and phone banking services.

A bank marketing agency might suggest some tactics to help banks reach the unbanked by capitalizing upon the resources they already offer. Some examples include:

  • Look for ways to maintain ties with people who have had changes in economic status: As an example, some bankers have suggested waiving fees for people who use their accounts to pay bills, even if they don’t have direct deposit or a specified minimum balance. In other cases, banks might encourage the use of the most efficient methods to get services, like ATM, phone, or electronic banking by limiting the number of more expensive services each month for basic accounts.
  • Promote mobile banking: Banks should engage in some fintech marketing to show how such mobile features as text alerts, balance checks, scanned check deposits, and even bill paying can help save time and manage accounts better.
  • Promote banking services as better solutions than bank alternatives: As an example, compare spending $12 to cash a check to simply depositing the check in a bank ATM and getting cash without having to pay. Perhaps, banks could also consider offering small loans at reasonable interest rates, even for customers with some credit challenges, that can serve as a better choice than payday loans.

Mostly, people with bank accounts generally enjoy more convenience and lower fees than the unbanked do. Banks can work with a financial services marketing agency to find the unbanked and underbanked and clearly demonstrate that the obstacles to dealing with banks are more a perception than a reality — and how banks provide better solutions.

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What Cryptocurrency Means for the Conventional Banking Sector

Bitcoin is disrupting the banking sector by creating enormous interest among institutional investors, creating a need for smart FinTech strategy for brands.

2018 was a tough year in the cryptocurrency space, as the value of Bitcoin tumbled from $20,000 to below $4,000. 2019, however, has been a different story, with the market rebounding and cryptocurrencies becoming a core part of institutional FinTech strategy and banking strategy.

So what does the future hold for Bitcoin and the financial sector? 

How Bitcoin went from novelty to banking industry disruptor

Bitcoin, the world’s most popular digital currency, began life as a hobbyist pursuit. Created roughly a decade ago by the anonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin was designed to be peer-to-peer digital cash. People could send it to each other with no bank or third party needed to validate the transaction.

That’s because Bitcoin transactions are validated not by a bank, but by a technology called blockchain. When one person sends Bitcoin to another, the transaction is confirmed by a miner. This miner isn’t a person with a pickaxe and persistent case of black lung, but rather someone who uses computing power. When Bitcoin transactions are made, miners use powerful computers to compete with each other to solve complex cryptographic puzzles for a small transaction fee. Whomever solves the puzzle first validates the transaction, which is then recorded on the blockchain – a public ledger that can’t be changed. 

That’s Bitcoin in a nutshell – and you can see why the technology is so transformative. Instead of waiting several days to have a bank clear a transaction, a Bitcoin transaction is completed within ten minutes, in most cases. Other cryptocurrencies with a higher degree of centralized control can confirm transactions almost instantly.

Here’s the irony: Bitcoin was created and later developed by a band of misfit programmers who were entirely outside the financial system. Yet today, cryptocurrency adoption is being pushed forward by the financial services, marketing agencies, and companies that Bitcoin promised to make obsolete.

Why institutional adoption is driving market growth

Bitcoin’s price rebound in 2019 has been driven, in part, by the movement of institutional money into the cryptocurrency space. A few years ago, most legacy financial firms were bearish on cryptocurrencies -Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase famously called Bitcoin a “fraud” that governments “would crush.”

Today, Dimon has reversed his position and is pushing his firm headlong into the space. JPMorgan Chase has launched their own cryptocurrency. Facebook, too, recently announced plans for their own cryptocurrency, while Google and Amazon both have significant partnerships with cryptocurrency projects.

Why the abrupt about face? As with any radical new technology, skepticism abounds early – “magic Internet money” created by a person named “Satoshi Nakamoto” seems almost too far-fetched to believe. Then, once people grasped the fundamental innovation Bitcoin offered, the financial services sector began to view cryptocurrencies not as a joke, but as an existential competitor.

And that’s where we are today. Cryptocurrencies hold the potential to radically transform how the banking sector operates. Using the traditional banking system, the fastest way to get $10,000 from New York to California is to fly it in a plane. In a 21st century hyperconnected world, that seems absurd.

Cryptocurrencies makes such transactions instant, as there is no need to wait for third parties to validate that the money being transferred is actually there. That’s the reason cryptocurrencies have become a core part of banking FinTech strategy – and why we’ve likely only seen the very earliest stages of what could be the most significant technological development since the Internet.

The takeaway

Brands in need of FinTech marketing services should consider one question: Does my FinTech marketing agency have the necessary domain knowledge to provide us with truly informed, high-level digital marketing for financial services?

At Bigeye, we understand FinTech strategy and cryptocurrency on a much deeper level than most financial services marketing agencies. When it’s time for your next campaign, we urge you to contact us and find out why Bigeye is so much better.

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Creative Marketing Ideas for FinTech Companies

The FinTech space is responsible for some of the most exciting tech innovations in recent years. But has their marketing been as compelling and innovative?

The FinTech space has given us an extraordinary number of new products and services.  Square has changed the way we pay for meals, goods, and services. Venmo allows us to send money back and forth to friends and family with the press of a button. Roboadvisors allow us to invest in stocks without even speaking to a human for guidance.

All thrilling innovations, to be sure. Yet, has FinTech marketing and advertising kept pace with these product innovations?

Along with the basics (such as smart content marketing and audience segmentation), let’s take a closer look at some high impact ideas FinTech firms can use to develop successful campaigns.

Creatively inspired FinTech marketing ideas

Today’s FinTech companies have completely reimagined the way we pay for products and services, conduct our personal banking and send money peer-to-peer. 

FinTech is also a highly competitive space, however — which means that it’s imperative to have your products and services supported by a compelling and well-executed marketing strategy. 

While many of new FinTech products are based on transformative new technological leaps, the space itself isn’t especially fascinating for the average consumer.

Given that, let’s review a few tips and examples you can incorporate when devising your next FinTech marketing campaign.

  • Make your marketing campaigns and strategies mobile first. Consumer-facing FinTech is largely driven by mobile — just think about PayPal, your mobile banking app, Venmo, Square, Zelle, etc. It’s estimated that two billion people worldwide will use at least one FinTech mobile app within the next two years. This means that everything you do should be optimized for mobile. These efforts should be supported by advanced digital targeting services to help you engage your ideal audience and give them relevant messages.
  • Push out great content that’s highly relevant. You may have the most innovative consumer-facing FinTech product the world has ever seen — but if you can’t tell a compelling story about what the product is and how it can help people, nobody’s going to pay attention. Additionally, exciting new FinTech products often come with a bit of a learning curve, so it’s important to be informational and educational when necessary. It’s important to illustrate how your technology will have a practical impact on the lives of users. Advanced audience analysis can help you segment your market and deliver relevant, customized content.
  • Focus on trust, credibility, and reliability. FinTech products are decentralizing authority. Today, for example, you can use FinTech applications to engage in peer-to-peer or decentralized lending, cutting banks and financial institutions out of the process. If you’re going to minimize the role third party authorities play, trust and reputation becomes ever more critical.
  • Zig when others zag. Sometimes the most impactful marketing or advertising campaign is the one that runs totally counter to your expectations. Domino’s Pizza launched a media campaign decrying the terribleness of their original recipe in order to promote their new and improved pizza. It was a bold — and very successful — approach. Instamojo, a FinTech payment platform, took the same strategy and published an article called “Six Reasons Not to Choose Our Free Payment Platform.” It’s an attention grabber, and that’s half the battle.
  • Create a spectacle. If you’re looking for something that’s truly attention-getting, consider the case of WePay. The payment company deposited a 600-pound block of frozen ice outside of a conference staged by its competitor, PayPal. The ice, which had frozen money embedded within, was a stunt designed to highlight complaints that PayPal was freezing too many user accounts. As you might imagine, the stunt went massively viral, gaining top-level media coverage from major tech and advertising industry publications. 

The Takeaway

FinTech technology moves at breakneck speed, so it’s critically important for FinTech marketing to keep pace. Innovative and exciting new products need to be paired with creative marketing that is equally engaging.

At BIGEYE, we’re experts at helping FinTech firms pair their innovative new products and services with the right marketing and ad strategies. We’ll help you reach new audiences and build market share with compelling creative supported by advanced AdTech.

Contact us today to discover what BIGEYE can do for you.

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Top Strategies for Credit Union Marketers in 2020

While credit unions are almost universally admired, many consumers are still unclear on their benefits. Here’s what credit union marketers need to know.

Credit union marketing comes with a significant built-in advantage: Most consumers are predisposed to like and trust credit unions. This, in turn, means they are primed for smart marketing and advertising messages. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most effective strategies credit union marketers can use to connect with audiences.

Hammer Home the Core Credit Union Value Proposition

Credit unions are (correctly) perceived as less commercial than banks. This makes them inherently more trustworthy in the eyes of consumers. Credit unions, by virtue of their design, also offer consumers a range of benefits that most banks can’t match (cost, accessibility, etc.). This is an incredibly strong value proposition for most people. 

Credit union marketing campaigns should therefore place a strong emphasis on the distinction between banks and credit unions and the many advantages consumers receive by opting for the latter.

Help Consumers Break Free from Inertia

Marketers should also consider the reasons why people don’t automatically opt for a credit union, even given the benefits involved. In many cases, the answer is simple inertia. 

Let’s be frank: Inertia and procrastination are powerful forces. Most of us have to power through our natural inclination to put things off, or maintain the status quo. Bank consumers are no different — and that’s why smart credit union marketers design campaigns with this in mind.

Think about how you can incentivize bank consumers to make the switch, whether it’s by using special limited time offers or creating an easier way to sign up.

Don’t Let Banks Win on Technology

Credit unions own roughly 14% of the Baby Boomer demographic and are doing almost as well with Generation X.  However, credit unions are lagging with millennials and members of Gen Z.

Why? Part of it is attributable to technology. Banks are farther ahead on the digitalization curve, and younger consumers demand digital-first solutions. In order to stay competitive, credit unions need to target younger consumers. 

This means staying competitive in terms of technology, and using credit union marketing and advertising campaigns to raise awareness of these efforts.

Credit unions are largely viewed as trustworthy and a good deal for consumers, yet they are also sometimes perceived as less than cutting edge. Marketers need to do their part to counteract this perception of stodginess and slow innovation.

Segment Your Audience and Reach Them with Targeted Messages

We just covered younger consumers and technology — now it’s time to talk about older consumers and their desires. By using market research, demographic profiling, and programmatic advertising tools, credit union marketers can segment their audiences and reach them with highly targeted and relevant messages.

In the case of the credit union’s most loyal consumer category (Baby Boomers), these messages should be calibrated to focus on the aspects of the credit union model that most appeal to them: Namely, cost and accessibility.

Studies have shown that older credit union members visit their branches much more frequently than bank consumers do. In an era where banks are relentlessly automating and scaling back the human touch, credit union marketers can draw a powerful distinction between that approach and their own more accessible, community-minded model.

The Takeaway

Credit unions have a powerful value proposition that banks can’t match. Yet they also have their own challenges, particularly with younger consumers. By following the strategies outlined above, credit union marketers can create well-executed strategies that help convince consumers to make a change, or become even more loyal.

At BIGEYE, we specialize in forward-thinking, tech-enabled credit union marketing campaigns. Contact us today to learn more about what our marketing strategies can do for your credit union.

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How a Credit Union Marketing Agency Can Put You One Step Ahead

When most people hear the word “credit union,” they usually don’t rush to their car with enthusiasm for a visit — yet credit unions and banks are important pillars of commerce, stability, and success in most communities.

 Just because credit unions play a highly functional role in most people’s day-to-day lives, doesn’t mean your brand can’t speak to your community’s values and become an icon people look forward to engaging with. A credit union marketing agency can transform your business – and your band – quickly and easily. Here’s how:

Break outside the box with fresh credit union design ideas

After the 2008 financial crisis, many credit unions and banks struggled to rebuild consumer trust. Using social media, creative advertising, and generating thought-provoking or helpful blog content can strengthen your customers’ trust.

As an example, Wells Fargo’s “Earning Back Your Trust” campaign features billboards, YouTube videos, and social media posts all aimed at acknowledging and addressing why their customers stopped trusting them after the crisis. Efforts like these humanize your brand and make complicated subject matter more accessible for the average person.

To strike the right tone for your campaigns to ensure your credit union is still professional and educational while showcasing your human side, partner with a credit union marketing agency like BIGEYE to create unbeatable content.

Freshen up your user experience with new content

Partner with an agency to take a quick pulse check on your website and highlight low word count or low-traffic site pages. Once you’ve identified these weak areas, decide whether content could be combined into another page or expanded upon.

As a rule of thumb, most pages should have 1,000 (or more) words to ensure each digital touchpoint is meaty and meaningful for visitors. This deep content also signals to search engines that your brand is an authoritative voice in the space and that it should be ranked higher in search results. 

Provide valuable services online

This last recommendation may be a little more difficult to implement, but worth the effort. Whether you use a website or app to accomplish this goal, make sure your customers can perform some services online without visiting your brick and mortar location.

For new or lapsed customers, this is a way to entice them to choose or return to your brand. Once you have them hooked, they will keep coming back for your services.

While it may be unrealistic for your credit union to adopt Bank of America’s complete digital banking style, a top Florida marketing agency can help you determine what services you can provide that will be of value to your customers and then successfully market those within your community.  

Contact us today for a free consultation on how our credit union marketing agency can help make your credit union more engaging than ever.

Assessing the Future of Mobile Payments and how it will impact you

If you’ve thumbed through a timely Fortune Magazine article, or visited the publication’s website recently, you might be aware of the company’s marketing stance regarding the use of Apple Pay, a new automated payment feature on the iPhone 6. While paying with a phone is certainly interesting (and is, in fact, already commonplace in countries such as China and Japan), this technology has actually been available for several years, yet Apple is just now incorporating it into its devices. So, what’s all of this highly anticipated buzz about? As with most Apple-branded technology, it’s safe for marketers to assume that there may be more to the story than meets the eye.

In its first week, Apple sold 10 million of its iPhone 6 devices, which offer a bundle of newly introduced features and upgrades, while also incorporating this Apple Pay technology. With Apple Pay, in addition to payments, the device also incorporates Passbook capabilities, allowing users to manage boarding passes, movie tickets, and gift cards easily from their iPhones. This new functionality also allows businesses to synch contact information with Passbook, and in turn, providing the capability to push special discounts and notifications directly to their customers’ phones.

The primary issue thus far with this payment and Passbook technology is that it hasn’t really caught on. In some ways, redeeming gift cards and coupons in this manner seems more burdensome, especially when customers are already relying on plastic cards for nearly all other processes. Even Apply Pay projections seem to imply that within the year, only 2.5% of payments will be mobile. However, Apple aims to have made a genuine attempt to remedy this by bringing merchant banks and card issuers onboard, and by employing Touch ID fingerprint technology, all in an effort to ensure the highest level of fraud protection.

On the other hand, there is one interesting trend to note – more companies are embracing mobile payments as a means of developing relationships with customers. About 15% of Starbucks’ transactions are now completed using the company’s app. In a world where the app-based payment trend doesn’t seem to be gaining much traction, certain businesses have honed in on what it means to have the ability to convince the user to make a mobile payment in this fashion. App payments make purchases more efficient for the purchaser and allow the business to collect information from the user, including: favorite orders, amount spent, and frequency of purchase. Interestingly, customers appear to willingly provide this information in exchange for a reward, and a business may even establish reward parameters, such as after a user spends a certain amount.

[quote]Perhaps we aren’t entering a world where all of our payments will be made from our phones, but rather, where we’ll make purchases from places we shop frequently – all from our phones.[/quote]As companies continue to move in this direction, opportunities exist to capture even more targeted data to help tailor strategies to meet client needs, while also reducing associated costs.

As previously mentioned, the ability to make payments from one’s phone has been in existence for quite some time, however Apple has a unique, innate ability to allow its technologies go mainstream in a short period of time. As we have recently seen, 10 million more people have access to Apple Pay than they did just weeks ago, and as a result, we may be adopting a new paradigm that leads to business being conducted solely via mobile devices, thereby eliminating the need for debit and credit cards as we know them. Despite the fact that we might see early adoption in only a few companies, if the technology catches on and proves valuable, there may come a day when Apple Pay is as common as debit and credit card point-of-sale machines are today.

As a result of this shift in thought processes, marketers will also be able to continue to send relevant information to customers based upon purchasing behavior. For example, one auto company already sends automatic notifications each time its customer is due for an oil change, offering discounts based upon their user activity on the app.

Will Apple Pay be a game-changer? Probably not –  well, at least not within the next decade. But, if nothing else, this emphasis on mobile payments reinforces the notion that we’re living in an era where mobile is truly at the forefront. Marketers should aspire to continue to find new ways to reach people, starting with their smartphones.

To discover how your business may become better equipped to provide an enhanced user experience, including Apple Pay, and employ targeted strategies that attract satisfied, returning customers, contact us today to determine how we may assist you!