Fintechs sweeten the stimulus pot
Fintechs take the lead in stimulus marketing with innovative campaigns and offers, while leaving establishment banks lagging behind.
Almost every major financial institution and Fintech informed customers via email or paid Facebook about basic stimulus protocol, including steps on how to redeem, contact the IRS, or set up deposit notifications. Large established banks generally preferred email for these communications, with Facebook usage higher among Fintechs. Some Fintechs have offered minor incentives for redeeming stimulus checks via their institutions, offering anything from no-fee redemption to up-to $200 as a cash advance for people waiting to receive the check. If establishment banks offered anything similar, it was not marketed. Other Fintechs leveraged the knowledge that many economically stable Americans would be receiving some extra cash to promote their own savings accounts and partnerships, offering contest entry for savings deposits of as little as $1.
Financial Institutions utilized both paid and owned Facebook to inform their customer base about stimulus redemption.
Netspend utilized paid Facebook to promote its stimulus FAQs. The campaign ran from December 1, 2020 – December 4, 2020 and cost $1.7k.
Banks sent informational emails about stimulus qualification and redemption directly to customers.
Fifth Third Bank, 12/25/2020, subject line: Update on Expected Stimulus Payments.
NetSpend and its partners informed Facebook users that they could load checks to their card account with mobile check load.
Incentives and Promotions
Chime offered financial aid for Americans struggling while waiting to receive their stimulus checks.
Venmo reached out via email to inform customers how to use its app to deposit stimulus checks and to promote stimulus check fee waivers. The campaign header informs recipients that they can cash their government stimulus check without being charged a fee. Also included in the email is a three-step tutorial on how to deposit the check via the Venmo app.
Earnin, a FinTech Payday Lender equivalent, offered customers the chance to win up to $10M. Customers could participate by depositing small dollar amounts via WeWin in a gamified and clever way to encourage saving.
While establishment banks proved to be agile during COVID-19 support marketing, they dropped the ball for stimulus marketing. The Fintech and establishment FI response to the stimulus checks has been night and day, with Fintechs running innovative promotional campaigns and tying interesting new offers to stimulus marketing, while traditional, establishment banks largely stuck to informational email campaigns about how to redeem the checks. COVID-19 showed the financial industry that agility and perception are imperative and can significantly affect brand perception and retention, and Fintech outmaneuvering of traditional players in this instance should be raising red flags for establishment banks. As another round of stimulus is likely to occur due to recent changes within the Senate, traditional banks should consider preparing plans for how to encourage redemption via their apps with promotional contests, stimulus cash advances, or other incentives.