WOMEN SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS ARE AVID DEBIT CARD USERS

Business debit cards are essential equipment for women small business owners, according to a recent survey by SYNERGISTICS Research entitled, Women Small Business Owners: Market Insights.  Six in ten women-owned small businesses with checking accounts indicate having a business debit card.  This is slightly higher than the incidence among male-owned small businesses, which is indicated by half.  Women small business owners are also more frequent debit card users than men, reporting an average monthly frequency of 16.3 (median = 5.0) vs. 9.1 (median = 5.0) for men.  Nine in ten women small business owners with debit cards indicate receiving their business debit card when they opened their business checking account.

F226 Press Graphic

Genie M. Driskill, COO of SYNERGISTICS, stated, “As one of the fastest-growing segments of the small business market, financial services providers are reaching out to women-owned businesses in an effort to capture and grow relationships with this attractive group.  The financial services usage of women-owned small businesses is very similar to that of small businesses owned by men.  However, there are subtle behavioral differences that need to be addressed by financial institutions when designing and implementing small business programs and strategies.  Findings from our survey reveal that business debit cards are widely used by women-owned small businesses.  In fact, women small business owners are slightly more avid users of business debit cards than men.  This significant usage suggests that debit cards should be considered as standard business checking account offerings alongside checks.”

These are among the findings from SYNERGISTICS study, Women Small Business Owners: Market Insights, featuring online interviews with 448 women small business owners and 152 men small business owners with annual sales of $50K-$5M. Industry categories include manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and services.  This study examines the financial profile of women-owned small businesses, including experience with relationship managers and the extent of overlap of business and personal provider relationships. In addition, usage of delivery channels and response to marketing tactics are measured.

PC BILL PAY SURPASSES CHECKS AS A BILL PAYMENT METHOD

Consumers now use a variety of methods for paying bills, and online PC bill pay and traditional checks are the top two used, according to a recent survey by SYNERGISTICS Research entitled, Evaluating the Consumer Payments Market.  Internet households report paying a mean of 13.3 bills in a typical month (median = 8.0).  The average number of bills paid monthly is higher among 18- to 34-year-olds and increases with household income.

Online PC bill payment accounts for 37% of monthly bills paid.  Writing checks to pay bills accounts for 22% of volume.  In terms of other bill payment methods, pre-authorized payments, primarily checking account withdrawals, are used for 10% of bill payment volume.  Other bill payment options – debit cards (7%), cash (8%), and credit cards (7%) – each account for less than 10% of overall volume.  Mobile bill pay accounts for 5% of bill payment volume, and online using tablets/e-readers represents 3%.

F225 Press Graphic

Genie M. Driskill, COO of SYNERGISTICS, stated, “Household bill payment is naturally a very basic element of consumer payments overall and represents significant transaction activity and volume.  Online payments, although not totally dominating bill payment activity, obviously is a widely preferred method among consumers.  Our findings also reveal that check writing has ongoing importance as a bill payment method, particularly among older customers, and is a core function of checking account providers.  Other methods, although accounting for small proportions of volume, are used by notable numbers of consumers and should always be made available by billing organizations.”

These are among the findings from SYNERGISTICS study, Evaluating the Consumer Payments Market, featuring 1,009 national Internet interviews with consumers age 18 or older.  This study examines consumers’ current payment habits, the adoption of and receptivity to innovative alternatives, and experience with issues of payment fraud or security.

THE PAYDAY LOAN DILEMMA

Should banks offer payday loans?  Even as greater regulation looms over payday or short-term loans, consumers are saying banks should be able to offer these products to their customers, according to a recent survey by SYNERGISTICS Research entitled, The Role of Alternative Financial Providers.  Overall, a small number of survey respondents – one in six – report ever obtaining such a loan, with younger respondents being more likely to have done so.  Significantly, most of these borrowers – nearly nine in ten – indicate wide satisfaction with the process of obtaining their short-term loan.  Six in ten were “very” satisfied.  When respondents are asked if they think that traditional financial institutions should offer these types of short-term or payday loans, more than four in ten say they should.  This perception tends to be more widespread among younger respondents.

F224 Press Graphic

William H. McCracken, CEO of SYNERGISTICS, stated, “Payday lending is mired in controversy, with consumerists and legal and regulatory groups calling for increased scrutiny and regulation.  A number of the major banks recently exited the market, while others are considering their options.  Payday loans are a niche product used by a small number of consumers who indicate they are very satisfied with the process of obtaining their short-term loan.  At the same time, a significant number of consumers believe that traditional financial services providers should offer this form of lending.  Banks then face the dilemma of offering a short-term credit product consumers want that addresses the concerns of consumerists and legal and regulatory groups.”

These are among the findings from SYNERGISTICS study, The Role of Alternative Financial Providers, featuring 1,003 national Internet interviews with consumers age 18 or older.  This study examines consumer usage of a number of alternative providers of financial services, including check cashing centers, retailers, payday lenders and pawn shops. Issues related to specialized services such as prepaid cards, financial kiosks, secured credit cards, and money transfer services are also explored.