42% of Consumers Will Switch FIs for Bundled Banking


Many consumers like the idea of having all their banking products reside within the same financial institution, as long as banks and FIs can overcome some consumer worries.

The topic is analyzed in “Bundled Banking Products: Matching Product Offerings With Customer Demand,” a PYMNTS and Amount collaboration based on a survey of nearly 2,300 consumers.

bundled banking

Data from the study shows that bundled accounts are usually a single service offering from a bank that includes multiple offerings including a checking account, debit card, and/or a credit card. Bundling like this is popular with many customers because of basic convenience and helps solidify a bank’s relationships with its depositors and borrowers.

In all, 42% of the consumers PYMNTS surveyed say they would be at least somewhat likely to leave a bank that did not bundle its offerings into a package for their convenience.

And even though 57% of respondents like the ease and convenience of bundled banking, consumers also have concerns about bundled banking products that banks and FIs need to address to keep those account holders.

Per the study, “Fears about fraud and concerns about complexity are the top reasons why some consumers are not interested in bundled banking solutions that give payment recommendations,” with 16% of consumers showing little to no interest in bundled solutions due to concerns about fraud. Another 15% also worry about fraud but do not cite this as the main reason for their lack of enthusiasm.

Another 21% of the consumers not interested in bundled solutions say their concerns about complexity are the main reason behind their lack of interest, whereas 10% of consumers not interested in a bundled solution say their concern about the theft of their personal information is the main reason they do not want their accounts bundled together.

Despite these concerns, the study notes that “Many consumers are willing to leave banks that fail to offer bundled services that enhance their convenience and desire to have a range of payment options at their disposal. Because banking today involves many options and products, a key consideration seems to be simplicity, as several groups of consumers are seeking bundles to obtain recommendations about which payment methods are best for specific transactions.”

Get your copy: Bundled Banking Products: Matching Product Offerings With Customer Demand


Stakes High for Stablecoins as Staking Draws SEC Scrutiny

The regulatory gaze deepens in the crypto sphere, and while the headlines seem focused on cryptocurrencies, the reverberations will be felt with stablecoins too.

Much may be at stake with staking.

As reported Tuesday (June 6), and as noted here, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed 13 charges Monday (June 5) against the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance, and its founder, Changpeng Zhao, alleging a variety of securities law violations.  

In the announcement, the SEC also said that it has charged Coinbase with “failing to register the offer and sale of its crypto asset staking-as-a-service program.” In the statement, the SEC alleged that, for the past roughly four years, “Coinbase has been engaging in an unregistered securities offering through its staking-as-a-service program, which allows customers to earn profits from the ‘proof of stake’ mechanisms of certain blockchains and Coinbase’s efforts.” Members of the pooled stakeable crypto assets get rewards generated from the program.

There’s precedent to pressures continuing to come to bear on staking. Earlier this year, Kraken ended its staking service as part of a $30 million settlement with the SEC.  

Generally speaking, staking’s a way for holders to earn passive income on their crypto, while the platforms and staking services validate the technologies themselves.  

Passive Income

For stablecoins, we note that there’s a bit of difference when it comes to staking. While the general crypto-focused staking is geared toward proof of concept, stablecoin staking is geared towards yield. The coins are held on a platform and are used in lending activities. In this way, there’s some approximation of traditional financial services activities.

As of this writing, and as disclosed on sites such as Bitcompare.com, staking “rewards” for, say Tether, represent a yield of up to 3%, USDD of up to 8%. 

But the Coinbase/Binance news might send reverberations through the stablecoin market. These two exchanges offer stablecoin staking. And staking, in general, can be big business for the platforms.  As reported in Coinbase’s latest 10-K, blockchain rewards, which includes staking activity, was $275 million worth of revenue, up more than $52 million from 2021. The latest tally represented a bit more than 8% of total revenues for the year.

The SEC’s complaint against Binance is telling. The SEC said Binance had engaged in the “unregistered offer and sale of Binance’s own crypto assets, including a so-called exchange token, BNB, a so-called stablecoin, Binance USD (BUSD), certain crypto-lending products, and a staking-as-a-service program.”

If there’s a seismic shift in staking — if platforms abandon the practice on their own or might be forced to — the impact may be significant.

The site Staking Rewards shows that the staking “market cap” of USDC is about $1.3 billion, where the total market cap of that stablecoin stands at about $28 billion. Tether’s staking market cap stands at about $915 million; the total market cap of the token out in the field is more than $83 billion. 

Other coins such as USDD have significant staking “ratios” of 42% of market cap.  

Might it be the case that if staking as a model is threatened, then many of these stablecoins may see downward pressure on their prices, and might even threaten the fiat “peg” in place or break the proverbial buck? The stablecoin market has been shrinking for more than a year, and estimates have the market overall at $128 billion, so this week’s news, and uncertainty on staking, may be unwelcome.

Priceline Aims to Offer ‘Personal Concierge’ via Google AI

Online travel agency Priceline has teamed with Google to offer AI-powered services.

As the companies said in a Tuesday (June 6) news release, the partnership with let Priceline’s customers engage with a generative artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot, and will also start seeing more personalized offerings when seeking hotels.

Marty Brodbeck, Priceline’s chief technology officer, said in the release that the company wants to “transform the novelty of generative AI into lasting value for our customers and our business.”

Brodbeck went into more detail in an interview with Reuters, describing the company’s chatbot as functioning like “a personal concierge.”

“You can easily find out that in Bryant Park there’s a Christmas market that runs from early November all the way through the beginning of January when you’re actually booking your hotel,” Brodbeck told Reuters.

Google has invested heavily in AI, even as its CEO maintains there is “not a race” to develop the technology.

“While some have tried to reduce this moment to just a competitive AI race, we see it as so much more than that,” Sundar Pichai wrote in a Financial Times op-ed last month. 

“At Google, we’ve been bringing AI into our products and services for over a decade and making them available to our users. We care deeply about this. Yet, what matters even more is the race to build AI responsibly and make sure that as a society we get it right.”

As noted here last week, the company has been incorporating AI into a number of problems, including its search engine, with Search Generative Experience using AI to answer questions directly on the Google Search webpage. Google takes this information from around the internet and links to sources used when generating an answer. 

“With the launch of ChatGPT late last year, an AI chatbot that could answer almost any question with a unique answer, companies have been adding generative AI features to their products amid increased public interest,” PYMNTS wrote.

Elsewhere in the intersection of travel and AI, German travel platform GetYourGuide announced last week it had raised $194 million, funds that will allow it to invest in AI technology.

“The investment will help increase the pace of innovation for travelers and supply partners, leveraging the rapidly progressing capabilities of AI and large language models (LLMs),” the company said in a news release.

“The acceleration of product investment will not only help travelers make the most of their travels, but also empower supply partners to manage and grow their businesses on the platform with intuitive tools.”


Report: Apple Acquires AR Headset Maker Mira

Apple has reportedly acquired augmented reality (AR) headset maker Mira.

The tech company retained at least 11 employees from the acquired firm, The Verge reported Tuesday (June 6), citing unnamed sources.

Mira makes headsets used by Nintendo World for its Mario Kart rides and by the U.S. Air Force to display heads-up equipment instructions, according to the report.

It is unlikely the military work will continue under Apple’s ownership, the report said.

Apple and Mira did not immediately reply to PYMNTS’ request for comment.

In a statement provided to The Verge, Apple said, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Mira’s website shows case studies for the use of its headsets in manufacturing, mining services and defense.

This report comes a day after Apple made its foray into the mixed-reality world official by unveiling Vision Pro, an AR headset that has been long awaited by industry observers and became the talk of the tech giant’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

Apple’s $3,500 device, which is to come to market next year, was described by CEO Tim Cook as “the first device you look through and not at.”

When it launches, there will be 100 games available for it as well as Disney+.

On the day before the unveiling of Apple’s Vision Pro, the Financial Times (FT) reported that startups in the virtual reality (VR) space are hopeful that the new headset will lead to a funding renaissance in the sector.

One venture capital (VC) firm co-founder told the FT that startups for years had been showing potential backers “hockey-stick” charts to forecast rapid revenue growth once Apple enters the VR space.

For that to happen, Apple will have to change people’s perceptions.

As PYMNTS reported in March, AR and VR headsets are not seen as a viable consumer product, even after years of hype and billions of dollars in research and development (R&D).

Another firm in the space, Meta, has sold about 20 million of its $400 Quest 2 headsets since 2020 and cut the price of its premium headset from $1,500 to $1,000.

FTC Returned $392 Million to Consumers After Law Enforcement Actions

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) returned $392 million to consumers in 2022 after recovering the money in law enforcement actions.

About $248 million of those refunds came from cases in which the FTC sent the first distribution payments in that year, with the remainder being additional distributions from earlier cases, the agency said in a Tuesday (June 6) press release.

The largest first distribution for the year — totaling $149 million — was sent to consumers who allegedly lost money in AdvoCare’s illegal pyramid scheme.

In that case, the FTC sued AdvoCare, a multi-level marketing company, alleging that it operated an illegal pyramid scheme in which it deceived consumers that they could earn significant income as distributors of its health and wellness products.

Most distributors — more than 224,000 — earned no money or lost money as AdvoCare pushed them to focus on recruiting new distributors rather than selling products, the agency said in a May 5, 2022, press release.

The second- and third-highest first distributions in 2022 totaled about $24 million and $23 million, respectively, according to the “2022 FTC Annual Report on Refunds to Consumers.”

More than $24 million in refunds went to consumers who lost money in a Next-Gen sweepstakes scheme in which the defendants sent millions of mailers to consumers, falsely telling them they had won or were likely to win a cash prize in exchange for a fee, according to a July 19, 2022, press release.

More than $23 million in refunds went to consumers who paid for My Online Business Education (MOBE), a business coaching scheme in which the defendants falsely claimed the program would enable people to earn substantial income quickly, pressured consumers to buy membership packages and required them to sell the same memberships to others, an April 5, 2022, press release said.

The FTC noted in the Tuesday release that more than 90% of the money refunded to consumers in 2022 came from cases resolved before a 2021 ruling by the Supreme Court that stripped the FTC of its ability to recover redress for consumers.

Refunds to consumers will likely decrease in the coming years as the FTC completes distributions from enforcement actions completed before the ruling in “AMG Capital Management, LLC v. FTC,” according to the Tuesday release.

In one of its most recent actions, in April, the FTC issued notices to 670 companies warning that they could face civil penalties if they make claims in their ads that cannot be substantiated.

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