Apps overtake online banking in the UK

Almost 40 per cent of bank customers preferred to do their banking via apps in 2018, up from 30 per cent in 2017, according to data from Smart Money People.

The financial services review website and research company’s analysis showed that customer preference for digital channels - mobile app and online combined - has risen to 78 per cent, up from 75 per cent in 2017.

Customer preference for banking via mobile apps has overtaken online banking for the first time, with online banking slipping to second place. In 2018, 38.6 preferred logging on to a website, down from 45 per cent in 2017.

While the growth in the preference for digital channels is moderate, the data suggested a strong inverse relationship between the preference for mobile apps and online banking, with customers aged over 65 now emerging as the biggest advocates of online banking.

Two thirds of customers over 65 now prefer digital channels, up from 61 per cent in 2017 – the biggest increase in preference for digital channels recorded.

The data also indicated significant differences in the channel preferences across age groups. While 53 per cent of 18-24-year-olds prefer apps, this falls to 13 per cent of the 65+, although this is up from seven per cent in 2017.

Younger customers are also the most likely to prefer to call their bank: 15 per cent of customers aged 18-24 list phone as their preferred channel – the highest of any age range.

The 35-44 age range were most sold on digital channels at 81 per cent. This figure is 76 per cent for those aged 18-24, while just seven per cent of customers aged 25-34 prefer branches.

Of the major banks and building societies, Nationwide Building Societies customers have the highest preference for digital channels. However, just 27 per cent of its customers prefer mobile apps.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 84 per cent of customers of mobile app focused banks Monzo and Starling Bank prefer apps.

Mike Fotis, founder of Smart Money People, said: “We know that digital channels are constantly growing in importance, but this is the first time that apps have overtaken online banking as the most popular banking channel.

“It’s a timely reminder that every financial services firm needs to offer an excellent app-based user experience, and that digital banking needs to be on every brand’s radar.”

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