What Do Consumers Really Want From Banking Websites? Simplicity

It’s no great mystery that consumers consider bank websites less appealing than others, but the reasons why might surprise you.

Banks and credit unions have it tough when trying to sell online. Consumers would generally prefer to be doing anything other than banking, particularly if they have a few minutes to spend on the web. So you’d think financial institutions would be doing everything possible to make banking more enjoyable online.


According to a new study on consumer banking sites released today by Change Sciences Group, consumers are 17% less happy interacting with banking websites than they are interacting with other types of online properties, and 22% less likely to convert than on other types of sites.

What consumers want the most from banks is simplicity, not the latest promotion, cool features, or a wide range of product offerings.

“The way that most banks currently approach consumers may be missing the mark,” says Steve Ellis, a Change Sciences founder. “There’s an opportunity for banks and credit unions to retool products and services around simplicity as their central value proposition and make good on that proposition with the right kind of product and interactive design.”

Although many bank sites would appear to be relatively easy to use, when compared to other types of sites, they are not. Bank web sites are 25% less usable than e-commerce sites like Amazon and Walmart. Even compared to other top performing financial sites, bank sites still perform poorly for usability. For example, bank sites as a whole are 20% less usable than the personal finance site Mint. Confusing or unwanted promotions, hidden navigation, and dense product text all contribute to poor bank site usability scores.

( Read More: Bank and Credit Union Websites Fall Short, Study Finds )


The above chart compares consumer bank sites for usability, engagement and conversion in the context of a sample of other sites in the Change Scienes “Experience Cloud” data set (shown as gray circles) and three high performing sites (shown as bright red circles).

As a group, bank sites differ significantly despite sharing common design characteristics. The top three consumer bank sites are 18% more usable, 14% more engaging, and 27% more likely to convert than the bottom performing bank web site.

( See More: 30 More Gorgeous — and Simple — Banking Websites )

Change Sciences studied how “happy” consumers were with banking websites, averaging “happiness scores” for four different sectors in the financial industry. Consumer banking websites have the lowest perceived happiness of all the financial verticals. Consumer banking sites were 19% lower in their perceived happiness compared to business banking websites.



The streamlined homepage design and clear, jargon-free language put Mint at the top of Change Sciences’ simplicity/happiness research.

You can learn more about the Change Sciences study, “Consumer Banking Site UX: Benchmarks and Best Practices,” by clicking here.

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