Computer Business Review

UK customers ditching high street branches for online banking

by Michael Moore| 14 July 2014

More than a quarter of Brits would now trust an online-only provider.

Support for online banking appears to be at an all-time high in the UK, after a survey revealed that more people than ever before would be open to the idea of doing away with their local branch altogether.

A new survey has found that over a quarter of Britons would be comfortable with using a purely digital bank, accessible using only a mobile, tablet or laptop, as opposed to the traditional in-branch model.

The survey highlighted how online banking is continuing to gain popularity throughout the UK, with 80% of customers going online at least once a month to interact with their banks, while monthly mobile banking usage has risen to 27% of customers - compared with 21% in 2012 and 10% in 2011.

The survey, carried out on over 3,600 UK current account holders by accountancy firm Accenture, found that customers aged 25 to 34 were most keen on the idea of a purely digital bank, with 33% open to using one.

However, the youngest section of the consumer base was also the least receptive, with only 22% of 18-24 year olds saying they would consider using a branchless bank.

This group was also the most likely to visit a physical branch of their bank, rising from 45% in 2012 to 52% this year.

"This year's survey underscores the growing complexity in how consumers want to interact with banks in the digital age," said Peter Kirk, an MD in Accenture's Financial Services group.

"The youngest, most tech-savvy-customers still value face-to-face contact as they begin their life's financial journey, whereas older customers who are further along in their work life are more open to a digital-only relationship. There is also evidence that some customers are not satisfied by their banks' current digital offerings. This presents difficult questions for banks as they look to balance digital channels with costly branch networks and deliver relevant services."

Along with the rise of digital banks, the survey also found a increase in the number of customers who would consider banking with non-bank organisations, such as an online payment-provider or post office. Overall, one-fifth (21%) of customers were in favour of such a move, with another 15% saying that they would consider banking with retailers, if they were to offer current account services.

 

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