Which Bank is Right For You? MyBankTracker Aims to Answer That Question
If you needed to buy a new TV, what's the first thing that you would do? Go online and search for some information? Read a review? Ask a friend's opinion? Maybe you'd investigate the latest televisions for yourself by visiting Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), Target (NYSE: TGT), Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), or some other retailer. Whatever the case, you'd do a little homework before agreeing to fork over the money for this expensive item.
Despite this attitude toward purchasing new electronics, consumers tend to bank with the first institution they see. “People would move to a new location, see a bank across the street, go in and open an account with them,” said Alex Matjanec, co-founder of MyBankTracker.com. “They are then surprised a year later when they're hit with a $100 fee.”
Matjanec is one of three co-founders of MyBankTracker, which encourages users to share and discuss their banking experiences. “The real goal was to add a level of social communication within the financial vertical,” Matjanec said. “We saw that there was a lot of technology speaking to consumers, telling them what to do, what products they should be considering, how they should be budgeting their money. We felt there was a lack of two-way conversation happening. So MyBankTracker was really built on that premise.”
Matjanec said that he and his team continue to add features “that allow people to compare and talk to one another, but we also added features that....allows people to take it to a new level of comparison, which is bank reviews, products, deals.”
“That's really the core of MyBankTracker,” he adds. “If you're looking to find your next bank and you're looking to open a savings account, you come see us and you can see what banks are near you, what people are saying about that bank, what is the market saying about that bank, and is it the right product based on your needs.”
A Different Approach
When asked about the difference between MyBankTracker and its competitors, Matjanec noted the level of social attitude.
“There are a lot of places where you can go and enter a few things, answer a few questions, and you are presented with the best results for you,” he said. “But what we found is that the results generated new questions, such as, ‘This system tells me that I should be considering this bank, but I've never heard of it before. What are people saying about it? What's going on? Are they really that good? Or are they really that good or are they just good based on my attributes?”
Better Communication From Day One
“The core aspect was that we were actually working with banks and helping them to start communicating correctly to consumers (back in 2007),” Matjanec explained. “We realized that there wasn't anyone out there doing that. As we were formulating these questions for how banks kind of situate themselves, we said okay, there's an opportunity here. We should definitely make this neutral and transparent.”
Matjanec said that the timing couldn't have been better. “Everyone remembers what happened in November of 2008," he said. “The market crashes, no one trusts banks anymore, and a lot of banks start to fail. There was all this uncertainty. People weren't really looking for comparisons to which bank they should be opening next, they were asking serious questions: is my bank going to be around? Should I be moving my money, and where to? That level of communication is what helped us grow. A lot of the partners that we work with love the level of transparency that we offer.”
As an ad revenue-based company, MyBankTracker's profits are primarily based on impressions of its website.
“We are a neutral advertising platform,” Matjanec said. “We always try to make it very clear for our users to understand that these are advertisers. So unlike some properties, or like Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), where they put the sponsored ads at the top of the results page, our results are always in the best interest of the consumer. We believe that today's Internet audience understands what a banner advertisement or display ad is, so we're situated with the standard ads. Nothing out there – no pop-ups to be intrusive.”
“The key thing,” Matjanec adds, “is that our ads have to be catered to our core message. You'll never see ads for Jaguar on our site. It's always banking-related so it's valuable to our advertisers and to consumers.”
There's an App For That
Finally, Matjanec took a moment to speak about MyBankTracker'siPhone app.
“A lot of people read our news,” he said. “We have a huge core audience.” By using the app, Matjanec said that readers can keep up with MyBankTracker's news at all times.
“A little extra feature we added to that was the ability to always find banks in your area,” he adds, noting the cost benefits of knowing where your bank – and, of course, your bank's ATMs – are located. “Using the app helps you lock-in your bank,” he said, adding that this can help save you money.
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