This Holiday Season, America’s Leading Banks Are Helping Consumers Meet Their Financial Needs While Also Staying Financially Healthy and Avoiding Scams

November 22, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the holiday season approaches, millions of Americans are preparing to travel, purchase gifts for friends and family members, and make charitable donations. America’s leading banks are working to support consumers during this time by providing the innovative financial tools they rely on to meet their financial needs, while simultaneously taking steps to bolster fraud and scam prevention efforts.

Why It Matters: Americans are projected to spend an average of $1,652 this holiday season, which is more than the past two years. In total, consumers across the nation are expected to spend between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion. During this busy spending season, America’s leading banks are helping their customers stay on top of their finances and stay financially healthy through the holidays and into next year with innovative tools to track their money and alert them about low balances and ways to avoid fees. 

With this increase in spending also comes an increased risk of scams, where fraudsters aim to trick consumers out of their money, which affects around three-quarters of Americans annually. Banks continue to lead the way in meeting evolving consumer demands while keeping their money protected through generative artificial intelligence (AI), educating consumers about the latest scamming tricks and trends, and providing fraud and scam prevention tools to help keep their personal and account information safe.

Account Alerts and Innovative Overdraft Programs Provide Greater Transparency & Choice – And Help Consumers Stay In Control of Their Finances

Overdraft protection is a valuable emergency safety net and banks have worked hard to make innovative reforms to overdraft policies that provide consumers with greater choice and flexibility at a lower cost. Some of these new features, including real-time payment updates, grace periods, low-balance alerts, and no-fee overdraft accounts, are empowering consumers to make informed financial decisions this holiday season while avoiding unwanted fees:

  • Overdraft changes made just in the last year by the 25 largest U.S. banks could save consumers $4 billion annually, Pew Charitable Trusts estimates, with changes at the largest three banks expected to yield $2 billion in savings alone. The Pew analysis released last month also anticipated, “These reforms at the biggest banks should have outsized benefits for Black and Hispanic customers [and] should help reduce the number of unbanked Americans.”

In addition to instituting widespread overdraft reforms, America’s leading banks remain fully committed to protecting and expanding consumers’ access to this valued emergency safety net not only this holiday season, but throughout the year.

Generative AI Helps Consumers Save

Over the past decade, banks have used technology to innovate and provide customers with an enhanced banking experience. AI is a tool that assists consumers with their day-to-day banking needs, protects their accounts from fraud, and helps find ways for consumers to save money.

  • Financial institutions such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Truist offer AI chatbots that are available 24/7 for customers’ banking needs, which includes answering questions, providing account assistance, and more. Built-in AI for banks studies consumers’ spending habits to provide recommendations to help build savings and alerts customers about their investments.
  • In a study by Credit Karma, about 57 percent of consumers who have used an AI tool to budget would continue to use AI to help alleviate the stress of managing finances. AI has also been especially useful for banks to streamline their services, meaning customers can receive assistance quickly and will see more innovations for their banking needs.

During the holiday season, it is especially helpful for consumers to tap into banks’ AI tools to budget, save, and protect their money. Around the clock assistance can be extremely beneficial during the busy shopping season, and customers can rest easy knowing their money is protected by powerful AI tools.

Banks Protect Consumers From Fraud & Scams

As the banking landscape has evolved in the last several years, so have the tools and products banks offer to consumers to ensure their identities and accounts are safe. According to a recent CBA survey, 83 percent of Americans believe banks are doing a good job helping them avoid scams.

  • Many of America’s leading banks are also deploying these new technologies and AI to constantly track, protect, and alert consumers about potential scams, providing another way to secure your money during the holidays.
  • For example, banks such as Atlantic Union Bank, TD Bank, and Bank of America provide resources to help consumers stay vigilant, recognize scams and fraud before they happen, and understand next steps if someone does fall victim to a scam. These valuable tools include warning notifications before completing a transaction, email alerts about potential fraud, enhanced account activity alerts, texts to confirm and approve purchases, and two-factor authentication for enhanced account security.
  • Consumers should be especially aware of possible scams when using non-bank peer-to-peer (P2P) payment networks, such as Venmo or CashApp. While P2P apps make it easy and convenient to split the cost of a holiday gift or otherwise send money electronically, these non-bank providers are not currently subject to the same regulatory rules as traditional banks, leaving consumers’ money vulnerable to fraudsters. Bank-provided P2P services, such as Zelle, are a safer alternative offered by trusted institutions within the well-regulated, secure banking system. Zelle banks continue to educate their consumers on the latest scam tricks and trends, and have instituted new ways to help consumers identify when they may be paying a fraudster. 

Banks provide essential products and services to millions of American consumers each and every day, and this holiday season, are committed to ensuring consumer protective measures are in place so families can enjoy time with their loved ones