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New Online Banking Report Published: Email Banking – Revitalizing the Channel

image Each day, the typical consumer household completes several banking and credit/debit card transactions. And 99% of the time, the transactions require little extra attention other than mentally checking them off to ensure you aren’t a victim of fraud, or more likely, human error.

But to stay on top of that routine activity, Americans collectively make hundreds of millions of visits to banking websites each month. This, my friends, is not an efficient use of time.

And it’s mostly unnecessary. There’s really no reason to log in every week to manage my accounts. All the info I really need could be sent to me via email.

That would eliminate the need for most website visits. And if I could initiate transactions right from the email, I’d only need to visit the website every few months to tweak my settings (even that could potentially be done through email interactions).

But as pervasive as email (and text) alerts have become, they are often cryptic messages that make you feel less certain of your finances, creating more anxiety and more website visits (see note 1). This is not what you want from financial providers.

What’s missing is a rich email experience, where a balance summary message can be expanded into a full statement with the click of a link. Where key supporting actions, such as paying a bill, are imbedded in the message. And where it’s easy to resolve issues immediately while you are thinking about them, rather than moving to another channel later on.

That’s the promise of Email Banking that we explore in the current report (see below). We also look at a new Israeli startup, ActivePath, that is delivering much of this vision with its new email banking service launching in the U.S. later this year (note 2). The screenshot below shows how a password-protected daily account-summary email can become a full-featured account-management tool with numerous links to act on the information presented. 

Finally, in an addendum to last month’s report on email/text alerts, we look at the alert-control panels at five major banks: Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.

About the report:


Email banking: revitalizing the channel (link)
New technologies and more thoughtful design could elevate email
to a central role in account management

Author: Jim Bruene, Editor & Founder

Published: 19 Aug 2010

Length: 40 pages

Cost: No extra charge to OBR subscribers, $395 for others here


Daily account summary email from ActivePath
Note: Embedded buttons to a.) view transactions, b.) role money into a CD,
c.) transfer funds, d.) view transaction detail, e.) chat with customer service


1. For more on email alerts, see last month’s Online Banking Report: Email Alerts & Transaction Streaming.
2. See ActivePath, along with 55 other innovators, at FinovateFall, Oct. 4/5 in NYC.