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Banks and Social Media Sites Don't Necessarily Mix

Forrester has come out with research showing that consumers don't want to access their bank accounts through social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace. A survey of 5,000 U.S. adults - conducted online, so these are web-savvy folks - found that a daunting 71% have little or no interest in accessing their bank accounts through Facebook-style social media sites. They say they're worried about hackers (60%) and privacy (59%), they like to keep their social and financial lives separate (56%), t

Forrester has come out with research showing that consumers don't want to access their bank accounts through social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace. A survey of 5,000 U.S. adults - conducted online, so these are web-savvy folks - found that a daunting 71% have little or no interest in accessing their bank accounts through Facebook-style social media sites. They say they're worried about hackers (60%) and privacy (59%), they like to keep their social and financial lives separate (56%), they don't see a relationship between banks and social media sites (49%), they don't see the point [of accessing their bank accounts through social media], and they don't trust social networks (43%). In addition, 42% say they are satisfied with their bank or investment advisor's site.Only 17% of consumers say they are interested in banking through social media sites.

None of this implies that banks shouldn't try to use social media features on their sites, such as communities, forums and microblogs. Nor, according to Forrester analyst and primary report author Emmett Higdon, should banks avoid social media sites altogether. "Early adopters will show what is possible," his report points out, and those pioneering customers will pave a path for others to follow. The report also points out that two years ago, one-third of online adults said they fail to see the point of mobile banking.

Forrester recommends that banks use social networking sites to deliver account alerts, to host customer service chats, to make new account relationships more sticky, and to promote online and mobile services with virtual rewards.

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