Research reveals surge in banking app use

Customer preference for banking apps increased to 46 per cent in 2019, while digital channels - mobile apps and online banking combined - also increased to 79 per cent.

This is according to the 21,290 UK consumers who shared their banking channel preference across the year on Smart Money People, a financial services review website and research company.

Breaking down the data, it found that 21 per cent of customers prefer to deal with their banks via branch and telephone, with customer preference for telephone banking increasing to 12 per cent in 2019, up from 11 per cent in 2018.

When it comes to non-digital channels, the highest preference for telephone banking comes from customers aged 18 to 24, while 24 per cent of customers aged over 65 prefer branch banking.

Those aged between 18 and 24 are also the biggest advocates of mobile apps, with 61 per cent preferring apps over other channels. These customers also remained the biggest fans of telephone banking, with 14 per cent reporting this to be their preferred banking channel.

Customers aged over 65 were again the biggest advocates of online banking, with 51 per cent preferring this channel – 16 per cent reported mobile apps as their preferred channel in 2019, up from nine per cent in 2018.

Branches were still the preferred channel for 24 per cent of customers aged over 65, down slightly from 25 per cent in 2018.

Michael Fotis, the founder of Smart Money People, said that while customer preference for banking apps has continued to climb in 2019, being able to speak to your bank, on the phone or via a branch remains important for many customers.

“Maintaining a branch network is expensive, and with fewer customers preferring branch-based banking, it’s easy to see why they’re closing in record numbers, but our research suggests that they remain important for older customers in particular.”

The research revealed that 86 per cent of customers of app-based banks Monzo and Starling said that they preferred banking apps, while 10 per cent said that they preferred online banking.

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