ABA Study: Consumers Prefer Online Banking

A survey by the American Bankers Association shows that for two years in a row, bank customers prefer internet banking vs. any other method. The study also found that branches were preferred by those ages 55 and over, and ATM popularity is down in all age groups.

Last year, 25% of customers favored online banking. In 2010, more than a third (36%) opt for the online channel.

Among all consumers, the preference for online banking was followed by visiting branches (25%) and using ATMs (15%). The use of mobile banking — cell phones, PDAs, etc. — was preferred by only 3% of consumers, primarily among 18 to 34 year olds.

Survey results showed that the popularity of online banking was not exclusive to the youngest consumers: it was the preferred banking method for all bank customers under the age of 55. Consumers over 55 still prefer to visit their local branch (33 percent). Online banking for this age group was the second favorite way to conduct banking transactions (20 percent).

“Clearly, online banking has fully penetrated the market,” said Nessa Feddis, ABA vice president, senior counsel and retail banking expert. “Online banking is the future of banking as more Generation Y-ers enter the marketplace.

“This means the industry will need to continue investing in technology that supports online banking because consumers see it as quick, convenient, accurate and safe,” she added.

Consumers who cited online banking as their favorite banking method were more likely to be under 55 years of age, have an income over $75,000, and live in the Western part of the United States.

“Online banking may be the most preferred method of banking but banks remain committed to providing multiple choices to serve all consumers. Increasing competitive focus means bank customers will continue to have the choice between branches, ATMs, telephone, cell phone, or the Internet to conduct their transactions – whichever they find most convenient for them,” Feddis said.

The annual survey was conducted for ABA by Ipsos-Public Affairs, an independent market research firm on August 14-15, 2010. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1,010 randomly-selected adults aged 18 and over residing in the US were interviewed by telephone via. This ensures the survey is accurate within ±3.1 percentage points.

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