Mystery shoppers that are seeking steady assignment opportunities should consider adding this type of evaluation to their repertoire. Many banks, as well as some credit unions, have active mystery shopping programs in which on-site assessments are made regularly and frequently. Some have a short rotation time period of only a month.
Project Variations: Assignment scenarios vary widely. Some involve the shopper interacting with a teller, either at the inside lobby or at the drive-thru. Others require a sit-down with a banker to inquire about opening an account to ask a question about an existing one. There are also scenarios for applying for credit cards or home loans.
Visit & Reporting Requirements: Just as the scenarios vary, so does the time spent on-site and in reporting the visit. Teller interactions are the quickest, usually just a few minutes. A meeting with a mortgage representative can take well over an hour, and typically only occurs after an appointment has been arranged with the targeted individual. Some assignments don’t even require you to leave home. You can just place a quick call to ask a question. Reports for most assignments are typically straightforward with minimal narrative.
Strategies: Be prepared with all needed documents prior to the visit, including proper identification for assignments requiring you to reveal your true identity. If the scenario calls for a check deposit, be sure it’s one that can be easily processed without any hassles. Have funds ready and available if opening a new account. Be willing to have your credit pulled when conducting credit card or home loan scenarios
For many mortgage scenarios, the MSC will provide you with a detailed personal profile that will include specific information that you must share with the representative. This faux data will include everything from your income level to the amount of square feet of your potential home purchase. It is critical to be familiar with this so that you can answer questions without hesitation during the pre-arranged meeting. Take thorough notes during the interaction, as these details will be needed on the write-up. Reports for some home loan assignments cannot be fully completed until a follow-up contact is made by the loan officer.
With almost all banking scenarios, remember that your proof of visit is a business card, so don’t forget to grab one before leaving. Try get one from the person your interaction actually involved. Jot down names and descriptions immediately after finishing the visit. Note your time in and out, as well as any waiting times.
What Others Have to Say: Judging by the postings on www.mysteryshopforum.com, a great many shoppers complete banking assignments regularly. Few have found them to be complicated or overly involved. Forum members have described banking visits to be fairly effortless, and the reports easy and quick. Only one or two isolated instances were cited in which a submitted report was challenged by the client. The other plus mentioned is that there is no purchase required, which helps shoppers to maintain a viable working cash flow while waiting for reiumbursements from other assignments to roll in.
Estimated Pay: Pay can vary from $10 for a simple teller transaction to $150 or more for a targeted mortgage meeting. The average for a standard inquiry with a banker is around $15. Assessments completed via phone are listed at fees from $5 to $8. Many times bonuses of $20 and upward are offered for shoppers willing to open a new account.
MSCs: Among the mystery shopping companies that conduct banking evaluations are The Brandt Group, Harland Clarke, Ath Power, Pinnacle Financial, and Maritz.