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Web Searches Reveal Shifts in Banking as Upstarts Surge

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If internet searches can serve as a kind of popularity contest, the banking institutions that have seen the sharpest surge of attention in the past five years aren’t the biggest U.S. banks. They’re the financial technology — or “fintech” — companies that became particularly appealing during the pandemic. Searches for digital banking features, such as mobile check deposits, also grew as U.S. banking habits shifted further away from in-person transactions.

Four popular fintech brands — Chime, Green Dot, PayPal’s Venmo and Square’s Cash App — have seen a surge in Google searches as they’ve gained a foothold in the banking industry, according to Google Trends, a tool offered by the internet giant that tracks the relative popularity of search terms over time.

About 4 in 5 Americans (79%) use mobile payment apps such as Venmo and Cash App, according to a February 2020 NerdWallet survey. Chime and Green Dot, meanwhile, have steadily built their customer bases, in part by serving Americans who have limited access to traditional banking services. They provide low-cost banking accounts with big ATM and cash reload networks. And their accounts serve as second chance banking options for people unable to open traditional bank accounts due to unpaid overdraft fees or other issues in the past.

The biggest collective spike in Google searches for the four fintech brands came the week of April 12, 2020. That period coincided with the first round of COVID-19 economic impact payments — aka “stimulus checks.” News coverage of Chime, Cash App and Venmo at the time highlighted changes to their offerings that made them more........

© Entrepreneur

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