Shoppers Prompted to Select Discover Card as Default Payment Option, with a $1 Million Carrot

image A few months ago, American Express provided five free song downloads as incentive for its cardholders to make Amex the default card option within the iTunes store (previous post).

Today, I noticed Discover offering an eye-opening incentive to get their card listed as the default option for one-click purchases on

A chance to win $1 million every time you pay

This offer is part of the year-long Discover Everyday Giveaway usage sweeps. 


Discover Card’s $1 million promotion on (12 Aug. 2011)
Note: A small ad first appeared in the upper-right part of the screen, this is what it looked like after I chose “Expand”

 Discover Card's $1 million promotion on

How it works (link)
Note: This screen presented when clicking on “Learn more” from above banner


Truliant Federal Credit Union Gives Away iPads to Promote FinanceWorks PFM

image There are three huge usability challenges with online personal financial management (PFM):

  • It’s hard to get started
  • It’s a pain to keep up with tagging transactions to make the data meaningful
  • It can be disconcerting for many users to view spending summaries

That’s why so few Americans engage in PFM, despite its obvious benefits (note 1). One way to tackle the first problem: Offer a sweepstakes or bonus to induce trial.

Truliant FCU is doing that with a late-summer sweeps encouraging members to log in and give its FinanceWorks (powered by Intuit’s Quicken) program a try. Members who sign up for the PFM between July 6 and Sept. 29 are automatically entered into the sweeps. There is no cost for the service (note 2).

Prizes include:

  • $100 awarded each week
  • iPad 2 awarded each month

Total value of the prizes is about $3,000.


Truliant FCU PFM sweeps (11 Aug. 2011)

Truliant FCU PFM sweeps

1. For more on online personal financial management (OFM), see Online Banking Report (published May 2010).  
2. We urge FIs to consider charging for value-added services such as online PFM. See our recent Online Banking Report, Creating Fee-Based Online & Mobile Banking Services (published May 2011) for the rationale.

PerkStreet Financial Targets USAA Debit-Rewards Customers with Ads on Facebook

image Every once in a while I stumble onto Facebook, usually by following a link from a credit union or banking site. It happened a few days ago, when I clicked a link in the middle of Visions FCU Rocks, a cool youth banking microsite from Visions Federal Credit Union.

The Visions Facebook page was fine, but it was the little ad in the lower-right that grabbed my attention (see inset and screenshot below).

imagePerkStreet Financial, which has perhaps the richest debit-rewards program in the nation, with 1% to 2% cash back, is targeting USAA customers who just lost their debit card rewards program altogether. The landing page (see screenshot below) does a good job laying out the financial benefits and funneling visitors to the online app.

Bottom line: It’s a good time to tout debit card rewards, if you are sure you are keeping it. And targeting USAA customers specifically seems worth testing.

But if I was a USAA customer doing whatever people do on Facebook, I think I would find the, “Your USAA Account Changes” headline vaguely misleading. It might be better to use a headline more like the first sentence of the ad, “USAA is ending debit card rewards” or even, “Be glad USAA ended debit rewards.”  

That’s it for my attempt at teaching “headline writing 101.” Class dismissed. Have a great weekend.  

PerkStreet Financial targets USAA customers with Facebook ad (12 July 2011)

Perkstreet Financial targets USAA customers with Facebook ad (12 July 2011)

PerkStreet landing page (link)


TD Bank Uses Interactive Online Banner Ad to Capture Mobile Numbers

image I was reading one of my favorite personal finance blogs today, Lazy Man and Money, and I noticed an intriguing ad from TD Bank. Actually, the blog is covered in TD ads, with the faces of spokescouple Regis & Kelly peering out from every corner.

But originally I noticed only the ad in the upper-right corner (see first screenshot below). The mobile interactivity, along with the 10 spaces asking for my number, grabbed my attention. 

The text-message campaign is powered by Cielo Mobile, whose URL was displayed in the browser status bar after I clicked the banner.


How it works 

1a. Users type their mobile number into the interactive banner ad (upper-right).


1b. The banner returns this thank-you message:


2. The link in the text message (left) opens the mobile webpage (right).

image     image

3. The app is downloaded from the iTunes App Store and this is the first screen at launch:




Apparently, I’m not the target audience for this banner ad since I don’t have an account at TD Bank. But if inclined to change that, I’d like a little more help opening an account. The bank does better than most by including links to its call center and webpage on the first screen of its native iPhone app (see #3 above), but there should be a direct call to action, or even a different app, for non-customers. 

Homepage Hits: Bank of America Promotes Image ATMs

imageI look at banking sites a lot, and sometimes a page or promotion strikes me as a cut above the  rest. For example, today’s Bank of America promotion of its image ATMs is eye-catching and must be gathering substantial clickthroughs (more on that below). 

Technically, everything about the promotion is first-rate, from the color to the typography to the copy. But what I really like is how this positions the bank as the place for anyone who appreciates elegant technology solutions to their everyday problems. 

Bank of America personal homepage (21 April 2011, Seattle IP address, customer cookies)

Bank of America homepage (21 April 2011, Seattle IP address, customer cookies)

However, the landing page (below) leaves a lot to be desired. A video of someone using the ATM would be perfect. How about links to an FAQ for those with more questions about the technology, risks, costs, guarantees, availability and so on? And a link to the checking account signup form would seem appropriate. But at least BofA did direct people to its ATM finder (in two places). 

Landing page


Bottom line: This BofA effort reminds me of the advertising adage that the worst thing you can do is put out good advertising for a bad product. Before the bank put such an appealing visual on its homepage, it should have put together more content for those clicking through. It’s not bad, just a bit of a wasted opportunity. 

Chase Bank Plays the Ecommerce Card: Offers $100 Bonus for its "Instant Storefront" Solution

image Chase Bank is aggressively pushing its latest small biz initiative, Instant Storefront, billed as a way for old-school “9 to 5” businesses to sell online 24/7. Here’s where I ran across it last week: 

  • A radio ad a few days ago (in Seattle)
  • Full-page ad in the San Francisco Business Times (p. 24 of March 25-31 issue)
  • On the main account management page within online banking
  • Small ad on Chase’s business banking public page today (see last screenshot, note 1)
  • Email yesterday offering a $100 bonus to give it a try (see first screenshot, note 2). 

The email is short and sweet with a good subject line and appealing design. The green button leads to a landing page with more info (second screenshot). The page includes an old-school, and very effective lead-gen technique, offering to email the $100 coupon to interested visitors (third screenshot).

The cost is $30 per month, and the bank throws in a $350 POS terminal and waives $150 in startup fees for new Chase Paymentech merchant customers.

To redeem the offer, customers must visit with a business banking specialist in a Chase Branch. Ecommerce website development seems like a bit of a stretch for a business banker to be conversant with, but hopefully it’s very turn-key. And I like how the service positions Chase as an online partner to small biz, so it may be a brilliant branding tool.

Using a browser with cookies removed (note 1), I don’t see any mention of the new service on Chase’s website and searching for “storefront” in its site search returns nothing (note 3). So Instant Storefront may be a western market test.


Chase Bank email to business customers about Instant Storefront (30 March 2011)

Chase Bank email to business customers about Instant Storefront (30 March 2011)

Landing page for Instant Storefront (link)

Landing page for Instant Storefronts

Lead-gen page where users enter their email address to get the $100 coupon

Chase Lead-gen page where users enter their email address to get the $100 coupon

Chase public business banking site (with Washington state customer cookie)

Chase public business banking site (with Washington state customer cookie)

1. The ad appears only on the browser I use to access my Chase account. On browser with cookies disabled, I do not see the Instant Storefront ad.
2. The print and radio ads also offer the $100 bonus.
3. The bank uses the URL: in its radio ad.
4. For more info, see Online Banking Report: Micro- and Small Business Online Banking (published Oct. 2009)

ING Direct Running Large Ad on Homepage

ING Direct (USA) is a large online advertiser. And because I frequently click on financial ads, I’m sure they are served to me far more than the average Jo(e). Still, the placement of ING Direct’s ad today at surprised me.

First, I’m not sure I realized that Amazon had turned over that much homepage real estate to third-party advertisers. It must be lucrative. Second, how does it pencil out for ING Direct? That has to be an expensive ad. How many 1% deposits do you have to get to cover those acquisition costs?

Amazon homepage (17 March 2011, 5 PM PDT, Seattle IP)


Landing page (link)
Note: While I like online video for sales support, the length of this 2.5 minute video on how to open a savings account seems a little excessive.


Off topic: ING’s St. Patrick’s Day graphic
ING Direct’s homepage today placed its orange ball in a pot ‘o gold — a nice touch — but I was slightly disappointed they didn’t animate the ball jumping into the pot. Clicking the pot took users to the bank’s We The Savers blog, with the greeting,”Top o’ the mornin’ to you, Saver.”


ING Direct Advertises on Email Alerts

image ING Direct (USA) has been a prominent sponsor within Mint’s online PFM. However, this is the first time I’ve noticed the bank advertising via email alert. And specifically, the direct bank is pitching its fee-free Electric Orange Checking account on the bottom of an email alert about a fee on my U.S. checking account. Excellent timing! 

It’s unusual to see an ad on a alert. I spot-checked a dozen or so during the past two months, and this is the only one with any direct marketing. But if it works, I’m sure we’ll see more of it. Context-sensitive advertising is what the Web has been built on. email “fee charged” alert (16 Feb. 2011) email alert that a fee was charged to my U.S. Bank business checking account

ING Direct landing page focusing on lower fees (link)

ING Direct landing page focusing on lower fees

American Express Wants to Power Your iTunes Purchases

image How much does the average American Express cardholder spend in the iTunes store each month? A lot. And how often do you go to iTunes and change your default card? Never. Is it worth $5 to have your card powering an iTunes account? To American Express it is.

I’m sure the card company’s spreadsheet shows a payback within a year or two on incremental interchange alone. But more important is the added stickiness these frequent Apple purchases give to the card. Plus, it can’t hurt to associate your brand with the most valuable tech company on the planet.  

The fine print
To earn the five-song credit, cardholders must make a purchase with their Amex card between Feb. 10 and March 15. That earns a statement credit equal to five song downloads. It doesn’t say which song price-point is used in the calculation, but I’m guessing the standard $0.99.

Relevance to Netbankers
It’s always good business to get your card installed as an automatic payment source. Interchange goes up, credit card receivables improve, and you’ve added one more electronic hook to the account. So consider taking a similar approach and offering a small bounty after your card is used with a new biller.

iTunes promo on main Amex account page (Business Gold, 11 Feb. 2011)

iTunes promo on main American Express account page

Enrollment screen (link)

 Amex Enrollment screen

Chase Bank Uses QR Code in Homepage Banner

Here’s the first time I’ve seen a QR code used on a bank’s homepage. After an animation sequence (below) announcing Chase Bank’s new Android mobile banking app, the final graphic displays a code that Android smartphone users can scan to download the new app. Very clever.  

Chase Bank homepage (20 Jan. 2011)

Chase homepage announing android mobile banking app

Landing page (link)

Chase landing page for its new android mobile banking app

Animation graphic 1:


Animation graphic 2:


Animation graphic 3:


USAA Promotes Teen Checking Accounts


In doing some initial research for a report we are planning for Q1 on “family bank accounts,” I started where I usually do, on Google. The only financial institution advertising specifically on the term “teen banking” was USAA (see note 1).

The top-of-the-page ad led to a well-designed landing page devoted to Teen Checking (see screenshots below) with a clever call to action: 

We won’t take any of your teen’s allowance.
Teen checking without hidden fees.

USAA even has a dedicated site with its own URL to support its youth-banking efforts:

Relevance for NetBankers: Teenagers may be one of the most lucrative segments to attract to your financial institution. They not only spend billions themselves, but also could literally stick with you for a lifetime.

The thinking goes something like this:

  1. Attracting the children of your customers helps you retain the parents
  2. Retaining the parents helps you retain the kids as they become young adults
  3. Young adults become parents
  4. Repeat

This didn’t work so well in the old branch-based world because one of the first things the kids did when they moved away was open a checking account at the closest branch to their new apartment or dorm room. In an online/mobile-centric world, that no longer has to happen. 

Google search for “teen banking” (see note 1; search conducted at 5:00 PM on 11 Jan. 2011 from Seattle IP address)

Google search for "teen banking"

USAA’s “Teen Checking” landing page

USAA's "Teen Checking" landing page

1. First-page organic results included (note, search was limited to items posted in past month) 
— Fremont FCU
— North Shore Bank
— Coast Hills FCU
— U.S. Bank (Visa Buxx)
— S.T.A.R Community Credit Union
— American Riviera Bank (my new favorite bank name)
2. If anyone wants to point out great examples of teen/youth/family banking efforts, please drop me an email or leave it in the comments. Thanks.