UK banks ‘need to win customer trust around data protection’

Less than two thirds (60 per cent) of UK banking customers feel their personal data is safe with their financial services provider, according to new research from NetApp.

The survey of 1,200 consumers across the UK, Germany, France and Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands for the cloud data services provider found that while 78 per cent of UK customers felt their money is safe with their bank, fewer feel the same about their personal data.

In addition, trust is key to customers fully embracing online banking on a regular basis, with almost half (48 per cent) saying if they knew more about the safety of online banking, they would start to use it or use it more often.

In addition, while 82 per cent of UK consumers like the convenience of paying through a third-party provider such as PayPal or Apple Pay, 67 per cent are afraid their personal account data may be stolen by criminals if they use third party providers.

The survey also found that despite these concerns, UK customers are now more comfortable with virtual banking, with nearly three quarters (72 per cent) saying they prefer access to information or services from their banking provider via their website.

However, despite growing comfort with digital services, there is still a need for the human touch.

In all countries surveyed people preferred to talk to humans, but the UK came highest, with 73.5 per cent of respondents ranking an in-person face-to-face service as the most important when it comes to making serious banking and financial decisions.

Despite a recent survey from Which? finding that 4,911 bank branches have closed since 2015, the survey found that almost half of UK consumers (46 per cent) still prefer to go into a branch to access information or services and a chatbot was not seen as any replacement for human contact – in fact, it found that voice chatbots were low on the preference list.

Commenting on the findings,Martyn Wilson, head of UK financial services sector, at NetApp, said: “In the UK we’re continuing to see increasing consumer adoption of online services across the Financial Services industry. It’s now standard to have the convenience of online banking and associated services at our fingertips. However, when it comes to the most important financial decisions there is still a significant demand for in-person face-to-face services.”

“This suggests UK consumers don’t feel automated services such as chat bots or Robo-Advisors meet the level of service they require for some of their most critical needs. It’s clear that more innovation is needed to build trust between UK consumers and automated financial services technology,” he added.

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