Most Amazon Prime members open to a checking account from tech giant

Banks, you’ve been warned.

About two-thirds of Amazon Prime members would try a free online bank account from the e-commerce giant, according to a report from consultant Bain & Co. That’s considerably higher than the percentage of regular Amazon customers (43 percent) or non-Amazon customers (37 percent) who would try an account, indicating strong loyalty to the Prime bundle of services.

Expectations have been high since it was reported in March that Amazon is in talks with banks including J.P. Morgan Chase and Capital One to create a checking-account like product for its customers. Since then, big U.S. lenders including Chase and Citigroup have announced or rolled out digital-only accounts targeting some of the same millennial customers that the Amazon product may appeal to.

“The big banks have absolutely woken up to this threat,” said Gerard du Toit, a Bain partner and co-author of the report. “They’re very focused on Amazon-proofing their business because they recognize that it’s big tech, not the other banks or fin-tech startups, that’s the real competition. Tech firms are the ones setting expectations for what a great customer experience looks like.”

Bain surveyed 6,000 U.S. consumers recently with a simple question: If Amazon launched a free online bank account that came with 2 percent cash-back on all purchases, would you sign up to try it?

All else being equal, younger respondents were more likely to answer with yes, according to the survey. Almost 70 percent of those in the 18 to 34 age bracket would try the Amazon account, compared with about 50 percent of those 35 to 54 years old and under 40 percent of those older than 55.