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Comscore's 2011 State of Online and Mobile Banking

A Snarketing post by Ron Shevlin, Director of Research at Cornerstone Advisors

Comscore published its annual State of Online and Mobile Banking for 2011. Anyone in financial services with an interest in the online or mobile channels, payments, or marketing should check it out.

Lots of interesting data points and trends in this report. Here’s what caught my eye:

1. PNC is kicking @ss. The bank’s satisfaction level jumped from 57% in Q1 2010 to 79% in Q1 2011. The 57% number was down from 70% in Q1 2009. My guess is that these changes reflect two things: 1) The drop in 2010 reflected PNC/Nat City merger fallout, and 2) The bump in 2011 reflected the great job PNC did with the merger and the bank’s success with its Virtual Wallet product. The 79% level is 9 percentage points higher than Chase or Wells Fargo, 16 points higher than Citi, and 17 points higher than BofA. Kudos to PNC.

2. PFM interest and use is anemic. This might reflect the blending of the demographic segments. In other words, it might be too late to get Boomers, and maybe Gen Xers, interested in PFM. Would love to see the numbers for Gen Yers. But the Comscore numbers are not reassuring for PFM vendors, nor for online channel execs at banks looking for ways to use the online channel to add value to the customer relationship. (Side note: I’ve got an Aite Group report on PFM coming out in late Feb/early March that will define strategies for addressing the issues banks and CUs are having with PFM). Just half of BofA and Wells Fargo customers are aware of those banks’ PFM tools. In contrast, 60% of PNC customers know about Virtual Wallet, and 63% of USAA members know about the Money Manager tool. Both BofA and WF have had their PFM offering a lot longer than PNC and USAA has had theirs.

3. Nobody knows about P2P payments. And of those that do, few use it. This is a cause for concern because a number of the core apps providers I’ve talked to recently are expecting P2P payments to be big, and become a revenue generator for both themselves and the banks that offer it. Personally, I think banks go about marketing P2P payments all wrong, and Comscore’s numbers give me some proof for my contention.

4. Social media efforts go unnoticed. I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me bash social media gurus and zealots regarding their baseless claims about the miracles of social media, but Comscore’s stats really tell a story. Less than one in five consumers are even aware that their FI has a presence in the social networking space.

5. Email is an effective communication channel. Email sure takes a beating in the blogo- and twitter-sphere. According to the Comscore report:

“…the impact of receiving emails to new account opening activity is on the rise. While the response rate on offers to open a new account is still modest at 6%, it represents a doubling of last year’s rate. In fact, email is highly effective in increasing customer awareness and engagement in other offerings, with 17% of recipients visiting the site to get information on other products.”

6. Remote deposit capture awareness is low. Just 29% of smartphone owners are aware of  the ability deposit checks remotely (I know of an 8 year-old who knows about this feature). This surprised me considering the importance so many bankers place on RDC as a way to differentiate their organization, and attract younger consumers.

Overall, lots of good stuff in this report. Nice work, Comscore.

Ron ShevlinRon Shevlin is Director of Research at Cornerstone Advisors. Get a copy of his best-selling book, Smarter Bank: Why Money Management is More Important Than Money Movement. And don't forget to follow him on Twitter at @rshevlin.

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  1. Great observations and commentary Ron.

    In relation to PFM adoption, I believe this is more to do with relevance of the solution. PFM vendors and Banks need to ensure that PFM is relevant to key personas, as most institutions and vendors tend to focus on those consumers who are whiling to create a budget, while neglecting to the consumers who will not. However these segments could still benefit from key views, information and key alerts.

    This leads me on to Mobile adoption, where according to the number my balance is still the largest offering used among smart phone owners at 32%, while 57% are aware of the feature. While 23% views transactions and 48% are aware of the feature.

    What about the underlying drivers behind the key transactions, Checking my balance and viewing transactions? E.g., “What is my balance?”, “When does my monthly insurance payment get deducted from my account?”, “Will I have enough money at the end of the month to get by?” and many more. As technologists there are a number of simple solutions, to answer the underlying questions.

    Focusing on answering the consumers underlying questions, will increase the relevance of the mobile channel and adoption rates. Without doing so, mobile banking will reach a natural resistance point in the market. (NFC banking excluded)

  2. Mat: Good points. I think you’re spot on re: PFM. Today, a lot of what passes for “PFM” is budgeting and expense categorization. The former is a chore for most people, and the latter is helpful to just a minority of the population. There’s a lot more that should be happening under the PFM banner to drive adoption.

  3. Good post, as usual! I’m not surprised at the low awareness of many of the items you note, because too many financial institutions still practice checklist marketing – Insert in the statement? Check. Banner in the branch? Check. Email blast? Check.

    I think many FIs underestimate the effort required to build awareness, requiring integrated, consistent communication over a period of time. Remote deposit is a great example for me. I’m a long-time Schwab customer and I was completely unaware of their remote deposit capability until I stumbled across it on their web site. Once I used it, I was hooked and love it, and I’m sure it saves them money. Win-win. I’m sure they sent me an email about its availability at some point, but they could have driven my use much sooner by communicating in a more integrated, consistent fashion.

    But then again, we know how strategic planning goes and perhaps they had more important issues to address!

    Again, thanks for all your great posts!

  4. Kent: I think part of the problem lies with the name of the product/service in the first place. Account aggregation? Remote deposit capture? P2P payment? Does the average Joe have any clue what these things are? Maybe if banks came up with more consumer-friendly naming conventions, generating awareness would be a little easier.

  5. Jamieson Bryan says:

    Interesting take on P2P and channels, wold be interesting to see if telephony converges sooner with payments? JB in HK

  6. Excellent article. I worked hard at PNC to promote Virtual Wallet, and it was a major focus of our marketing. Visability and promotion are key to success.

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