Banks need to leverage online benefits in order to engage customers

As many U.S. banks begin to introduce new checking and debit card fees on their account holders, many consumers are beginning to turn to online alternatives.

As many U.S. banks begin to introduce new checking and debit card fees on their account holders, many consumers are beginning to turn to online alternatives. However, as this trend proceeds, some financial institutions are looking to transfer some of the perks of online banking to standard practices.

A study released this week by financial services technology firm Fiserv outlines ways in which financial institutions can borrow from online retailers in order to boost customer engagement.

"Consumers don't expect a financial institution to be the next Amazon.com," said Nicole Sturgill, research director of delivery channels at TowerGroup. "They do, however, expect that their online experience will be intuitive and personalized regardless of whether they are banking or shopping."

For example, the study argues that institutions need to make ti it easy for customers to find what they want. According to a separate Fiserv survey, ease of use is the No. 1 point of attraction to online banking. Banks and credit unions need to make it easy for users to identify and accomplish specific tasks by positioning frequently used services in clear sight.