The toaster effect: Free gifts can boost new account openings by 15% or more

The free toaster is a banking cliche, but that’s probably because it works. Free gifts can boost account openings for financial institutions by as much as 15%, says a consultant. The strategy only pays off when superior banking products and experiences are being promoted, though. Here are some dos and don’ts for making the most of giveaways and a gallery of bank and credit union offers meant to attract new checking accounts.

Free gifts with a new bank account — such as the oft-cited toaster — may seem like part of a bygone era in banking. But banks and credit unions still offer a wide array of promotional items to attract new customers and referrals.

That includes toasters, albeit a high-end smart toaster in at least one example.

Gifts can boost account openings by upwards of 15%, according to the consulting firm Haberfeld. “That gift really is a nominal investment, given the payback that you get over the life of the relationship,” says Sean Payant, Haberfeld’s chief strategy officer.

For Equity Bank, giving new checking account customers a smart toaster led to a 25% increase in digital account openings and a doubling of new leads in the month the offer launched, compared with the previous month.


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