UK bank showcases the power of SMS

One of the most powerful aspects of SMS is its ability to provide excellent customer service. A U.K. bank is taking advantage of this, and getting some good publicity in the process.

In 2014, HSBC, Britain's largest bank, launched a program that alerted customers when they were at risk for incurring charges from overdrafts. Recently, the bank released the results from the program, and they are astounding.

From its launch through September 2015, the bank sent a total of 1.5 million alerts. Incredibly, 1.2 million of those went out in just the first month, indicating that the program had an immediate impact on changing their customer's banking habits.

In that same time period, HSBC's customers saved a total of $135 million in overdraft fees, which are just shy of $7.50 a day with a $120 monthly cap. In addition to that, HSBC said that 50 percent of its customers were able to avoid fees. The program also benefited customers banking with its subsidiary, First Direct, with 72 percent of those customers avoiding overdraft penalties. 

The bank initially launched its text alert program when it. changed its overdraft fee structure from about $38 per transaction to what it is currently.

When customers set up an account, an overdraft limit is established. When customers pass that limit, they receive a text. If they are able to bring their account back to within the limit by 11:45 p.m. the same day, they will not be charged any fees.

According to The Guardian, other banks in the U.K. have similar SMS service alert programs. Citing a recent report from the British Competition and Markets Authority, it wrote that the use of SMS has lead to a 24 percent drop in overdraft charges incurred by customers.