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Banks Offering New Perks, Services

They’re polishing a tarnished image with better rates, no-strings checking accounts and cash to lure new customers.

Banks’ reputations have taken a beating, and boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty are at the top of their agenda. Expect to see changes designed to make banking easier (and to save banks money). For instance, with the Teller Assist ATMs that Bank of America is introducing in some areas in 2013, you can talk to a live teller on video outside of standard business hours and withdraw cash in small denominations, including $1 and $5 bills. Chase and Wells Fargo are rolling out enhanced ATMs, too. Banks are beefing up mobile applications with features such as remote check deposit.

Banks are crunching data and studying customers’ habits to personalize their experience. For instance, if you have recently checked certificate of deposit rates but have not opened a new deposit account, the bank may offer you a better rate if you open an account. Or transactions that don’t seem like yours might be flagged to be verified later.

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To lure new customers, some banks are offering cash, such as the $150 PNC recently offered for opening a checking account and making certain transactions. If the bottom line is your biggest concern, compare fees and rates. Some 72% of credit unions surveyed by Bankrate.com were offering free, no-strings checking accounts, compared with Bankrate data showing free accounts at just 39% of banks.

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