I found an interesting message in my HSBC Malta online banking mail box this morning. Here’s what it said:
We are pleased to advise that until further notice, all Term Deposits opened in EURO through Internet Banking will automatically benefit from a special bonus of 0.05% p.a. loading above prevailing interest rates.
Their current interest rate on a Term Deposit is 2.00% p.a. which means that if I do this online I’ll get a 2.05% interest rate. While I applaud their initiative in trying to drive benefit to online customers (and minimise their cost of servicing customers) I stopped to think about what this could mean to me in real terms. If I decided to invest £1000 in a 1 year Term Deposit I would normally earn £20; but if I did it online, I would earn £20.50. The question is, would people change their banking patterns and move online to make that extra 50p ?
At the end of the day, the answer to that question boils down to individual’s weighing up the cost of their behaviour change against the perceived benefit of their action. And this varies from one person to another. I have a friend who once shopped around for hours to buy Sylvania light bulbs because he believed they were what he wanted to light up his garden and wouldn’t accept any compromise. Personally, I think the time he invested in his quest far outweighed the outcome; but it wasn’t really about the light bulbs, but his pursuing an idea. Finding the right lighting was the end goal, but there was pleasure in the chase too. Personally, I’m not into lightbulbs, but if my son saw some John Deere toys he really wanted, I’d go out of my way to look for them. (p.s. I’ve never seen any of those in the UK, maybe a service like US Unlocked could go a long way there)
Still, offering your customers a 50p carrot seems a bit cheap …