Consumers Seek Practical Rewards from Banks

A new survey finds nearly two-thirds of Americans believe they are spending wisely, and most are seeking financial services providers who will reward them for doing so.

A new survey finds nearly two-thirds of Americans believe they are spending wisely, and most are seeking financial services providers who will reward them for doing so.

Bank of America surveyed 1,000 adults with between $20,000 and $250,000 in investable assets to find out their financial satisfaction level as well as the types of benefits they seek from their financial institutions.

The survey found 79% of respondents prefer rewards that make their money go farther, rather than rewards that can be used toward a one-time purchase or activity. They also want a break from fees. Two-thirds of respondents said they don’t want to pay fees for every day banking services, and 53% said they seek out banks that enable them to use ATMs without paying fees. Other sought-after benefits include higher savings interest and cash back on purchases, according to the report.

Consumers told Bank of America they want to be rewarded for taking responsible steps such as depositing money into savings account or retirement account.

Respondents also said they like to be rewarded for timely mortgage payments, or for using their credit or debit cards for everyday purchases.

“Consumers are seeking practical benefits from rewards programs,” said Aron Levine, head of preferred banking at Merrill Edge, a division of Bank of America. “At the same time, our research is clear that these consumers do not want to choose just one type of benefit; they are looking at the full spectrum of financial activity and want their banking partners to do the same.”

Indeed, the survey suggests consumers are willing to use multiple banks to achieve the highest level of rewards. More than 80% of respondents said they use more than one financial institutions, and more than one in four (28%) said they do so specifically to maximize returns.