We recently had the honor and pleasure of hosting five Senior Analysts from the Information Technology Research Department of Nomura Research Institute (NRI). NRI is a Tokyo-based technology consulting firm with over 6,200 emloyees around the world. They were visiting various organizations across the United States doing reserach on new technologies. We were the first stop on their tour.
Along with other topics, they mainly were here to talk to us about Mariner360, our newest online offering powered by Geezeo. According to our guests, there is not any type of Personal Financial Management (PFM) software available to Japanese consumers today. They are interested in offering this type of system to them.
They did note one signficant difference between the Japanese and American consumer. Their consumers do not typically have credit cards or carry the associated balances, unlike many American consumers today. So their consumers desire to aggregate their accounts is less important than the budgeting and goal setting tools available in the PFM.
lA recent change enacted by Visa© could have an impact on you the next time you go to fill up the car. Beginning in August, gasoline dealers have been given the option to replace the one dollar status check toany amount, up to $500. In the past few weeks, we've seen pre-authorized amounts ranging from $25 to $120. These typically drop off in one to two business days, once the actual transaction posts to a customers account. So what does this mean to you?
Let's look at this from the perspective of Reg E and the opt in/out option. (see my previous post on this subject here) Say you go to the pump to get $25 worth of gas and you have $75 in your account. If you've opted out and the merchant puts through a pre authorized amount of $120, your purchase will be denied. If you've opted in, the purchase would go through but you'd still have a hold on your account for the $120 until the purchase posts. Imagine being in a hurry, your almost out of gas and being denied. Not a very pleasant thought.
So next time you go to buy some gas, check to see what amount is being pre authorized by that merchant. If it's for $120, you may want to find another dealer for your next fill up.
In the most recent edition of the USBanker magazine, two articles caught my attention. The first, entitled "Say Goodbye to Checks", addresses the declining use of checks by consumers. With a new study coming out from the Federal Reserve later this year, the decline is expected to be much higher than the 4.1% percent decrease in 2007. Here are a couple of reasons why:
- The number of bills paid on line by consumers increased by 1 billion a year from 2006 to 2009
- With increased debit card usage, retailers are reporting a 15% decline in checks annually A second article, entitled "Banking 2020:Smartphones Rule", discusses the impact of technology innovation on the branch banking system.
With the introduction of alternatives like ATM's and online banking, and now the advent of the smartphone, consumers have more ways to bank then ever before.
Both of these articles highlight the impact technology's had on consumer behavior and the likelihood that it will continue. We've been tracking these trends as well and are constantly looking for innovative ways to service our customers. In the coming weeks, we'll be introducing some new services that we think will help you more effectively manage your financial life. The future is now. Stay tuned!