Banking Consumers Getting More Mobile and More Digital

Tablets, smartphones and mobile devices will increasingly become the primary tools used to access online banking services, and young adults are the most likely to carry their bank in their pockets — but a growing number of other age groups are likely to join them in the very near future.

Those are among the findings of Intuit Financial Services Fourth Annual Financial Management Survey, a study fielded in October 2011 involving 1,000 participants across the United States.

Mobile Growth

Two out of every five participants in the study said they own a smartphone, but only one in five said they use it to check balances, transactions, make payments, etc. 17% said they plan to try it in 2012.

Gen-Y is a different story. They live — and bank — on mobile devices. 70% of Gen-Y respondents said they own a smartphone, and half use it for banking compared to only 23% of the general population. The research revealed that 18-32 year olds are three times more likely to adopt mobile banking than Gen-X, baby boomers and seniors.

More than half of Gen-Y uses more than one device per week to access their online banking information, while nearly everyone else sticks with just one. Another Intuit study encompassing more than 50,000 mobile banking customers showed that people tend to interact, on average, 45% more often with their financial institutions when using online and mobile solutions in combination, as opposed to online alone. Customers that used both online and mobile solutions also tended to hold, on average, 9% more deposit and loan accounts than people who didn’t use digital solutions at all.

When banking on mobile devices, 65% access account information through the web/internet, whereas 28% use a mobile application.

Mobile banking is growing in importance. 19% would switch if their financial institution stopped offering mobile banking, but again that number jumps to 30% when just looking at Gen-Y.

Among those who don’t use mobile banking services, the most common reason — besides not owning a smartphone — is that some (22%) simply prefer to bank online from their desktop workstation or laptop.

Channel Preferences

The percentage of consumers using online banking services continues to increase — climbing 11 percentage points since 2009, up to 38% in 2011. However, a large number of consumers (45%) still manage their finances manually, without using online tools.

27% of banking consumers visit their financial institutions’ branches once a month. 76% of respondents in the study said online banking tools were the main reason they no longer needed to visit branches as often as they used to.

Kinda, Sorta Loyal…

Half of all respondents said there primary bank was a major national/global institution, with the balance of relationships distributed among regional- or community banks or credit unions.

45% of financial consumers have stuck with their bank or credit union for more than 10 years. However, 36% said they have already switched or plan to switch banking providers. 33% said that they would (ostensibly) switch for better online banking tools.

Of those that have switched financial institutions in the last three years, 30% of respondents claimed they made the change for better rates. 25% felt that their former banking provider was not in touch with their needs. 20% wanted to bank at a smaller institution.

“Banking on customer inertia is not a viable growth strategy,” said CeCe Morken, president and general manager of Intuit Financial Services.

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