BROOKFIELD, Wis. (10/1/09)--Credit unions can help their members survive a tough economy by providing more robust online functionalities--such as same-day bill pay, free budgeting tools and alerts to avoid service fees, says a new survey. Fiserv, a financial services technology provider based in Brookfield, Wis., asked consumers how their financial activities have been impacted by the recession and how financial institutions can help them gain a greater sense of control of their finances. The survey, “Coping with the Crisis,” was conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Fiserv. It questioned 1,002 online adults in the U.S. The survey updates a previous study conducted by Fiserv in October 2008. About 91% of consumers who use online banking said it is critical for managing finances. Because of the recession, 32% of online banking users said they are accessing their accounts more often--an increase from 28% in October 2008. Roughly 74% said they are paying more attention to their finances than in previous years, compared with 71% last October. Thirty-eight percent of consumers said they wanted their financial institutions to send them alerts to avoid service fees. About 33% indicated they wanted same-day bill payments, 31% wanted free budgeting tools, and another 31% said they wanted reminders when their online bills are due. The survey also asked consumers what functionalities would help them control their finances the most. Some of the suggestions included:
* Being able to pay bills the same day they are due (64%); * Alerting consumers to issues they need to pay attention to, such as due dates or a low balance (56%); and * The ability to manage all accounts from one site (53%).
More than one-third of consumers surveyed noted that personal financial help from their financial institution also would help them feel in control of their finances.