Banking app usage surges during lockdown

The Coronavirus lockdown has accelerated the shift to digital banking apps, with more than half (54 per cent) of the UK population now using money management apps on a regular basis.

An Opinium survey of 2,000 individuals for Nesta’s Open Up 2020 challenge found that increasing adoption has meant that more than a third (36 per cent) now feel more comfortable using banking and money management apps since lockdown and almost a quarter (23 per cent) trust online banking more now than before lockdown.

Money worries may be one of the driving forces behind people seeking technology solutions to better manage their money, the survey suggested.

Four in ten of those surveyed (39 per cent) said they feel ‘terrified’ of the financial impact of a second peak of COVID-19, while nearly a third (30 per cent) of people across the UK are already preparing financially for a second lockdown.

One in five (20 per cent) are concerned their finances won’t last if the UK faces another lockdown.

As a result, many people are turning to apps with more active functionality – such as those designed to help them manage debt, budget and save better.

Since lockdown, almost one in five (17 per cent) have started using an online banking service to help with these money management goals – such as Moneybox, Tully, Plum or Cleo. Take up among 25 to 34 year-olds has increased to 45 per cent.

Increased mobile and online services usage is expected to continue after restrictions ease, as more than two thirds (67 per cent) of users plan to keep it up after lockdown.
Nearly half (45 per cent) said they would prefer if they could manage all of their personal finances by app.

As part of Nesta’s Open Up 2020 Challenge, run in partnership with the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) there are 15 FinTechs selected as finalists which have already received £50,000 in funding, in addition to non-financial support to further develop their product and reach more people across the UK.

Three or four finalists will go on to be named winners in October, receiving a further £150,000 to £200,000 each.

David Beardmore, ecosystem development director at the OBIE, said: “These times of economic uncertainty are causing many to worry about their financial situations, and how they will make ends meet as well as preparing for the future.

“It is encouraging to see more people realising the help available to them through the many banking and money management apps,” he continued, adding: “Over the past months, the financial services industry has risen to this challenge, using innovative open banking technology to deliver products that make a positive impact on people’s financial lives.”

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