While you don't want to overdo it and look like a hypocrite (see note 1), there's nothing like a little green to spruce up your marketing this time of year. BankServ lets users see just how much they can save by uploading checks to the bank over the Net instead of hightailing over to the branch in their Hummer (note 2).
In my case, I'm only going to save a half barrel of oil per year by forgoing those branch visits. Less, if it ever stops raining and I can get back to biking to the branch. It sounds more impressive in terms of CO2 emissions saved: 200 pounds.
It's a nice tool. Financial institutions could also use similar calculators to show the green benefits of paying bills online, receiving electronic statements, or anything else that cuts down on waste.
Note the URL: http://www.bankserv.com/greenbanking/
1. The term is new to me, but my friends over at Javelin Strategy blogged about greenwashing this week. In short, it means misleading consumers about the extent of your eco-friendly practices.
Although, remote deposit capture has captured a significant share of larger businesses, consumers have had fewer options:
- USAA has offered in-home scanning, called Deposit@Home, for more than a year (previous coverage here), but its customer base is limited to current and retired members of the military.
- DepositNow, a unit of BankServ, allows anyone to use remote deposit services, but it's geared towards businesses and costs at least $29/mo, far above what consumers or even smaller businesses will pay.
- A number of banks also make it available to small businesses and the very wealthy, but consumer rollouts have been nonexistent. The cost of a dedicated scanner makes it uneconomical for the mass market.
CheckFree aims to change that with a new service targeted to consumers and very small businesses (press release here). The key is using existing consumer scanners and multi-function printers. USAA has proven that this technology does indeed work, so we expect CheckFree's service will pass technical hurdles.
It's hard to predict consumer demand, but given that around 20% of U.S. households maintain a full- or part-time business endeavor, we expect strong demand if the price is reasonable and technology is extremely easy to use.
Remote deposit services could be used as the cornerstone of a premium online banking offering (note 2) attractive to microbusiness (note 1) owners and consumers who still receive paper checks a few times per month.
- We define a microbusiness as one with $50,000 or less in annual revenue, typically a part-time, home-based business. For more information see Online Banking Report #107/108: Small and Microbusiness Banking Online.
- See Online Banking Report #109 for ideas on how to create a premium online banking channel.