COVID-19 has permanently changed how consumers interact with their financial services organization, according to research by BAI, a nonprofit independent organization that delivers the financial services industry’s most actionable insights. The research, which explores the usage of digital banking tools since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, found that more than half (52%) of customers are using digital banking applications more since the start of the pandemic. Furthermore, 87% of consumers plan on maintaining their increased usage after the end of the pandemic.
The survey, fielded in August 2020, seeks to understand how the pandemic has changed the behaviors of consumers regarding digital banking tool adoption and utilization. In addition to the majority of users indicating an increase in digital banking usage, 69% reported that they found the digital banking applications intuitive and figured out how to use them on their own. Consumers also report high satisfaction with digital banking, with 92% indicating that their financial services organization’s digital tools met their needs.
“COVID-19 has forever changed the way customers interact with their financial services organizations. Digital channels have become the new store-front, and consumers are finding banking apps easier to use and a more convenient way to conduct their financial business,” said Karl Dahlgren, managing director at BAI. “However, financial services leaders must continue to invest in digital banking tools and resources moving forward since the percentage of consumers who would prefer to use a branch after the pandemic ends decreased compared to our survey conducted in January 2020.”
The survey found that although the branch is still the top choice for getting advice about a complex product or service, the percentage of consumers preferring the branch decreased from 45% to 32% in the seven months between this survey and one BAI conducted in January 2020.
While digital banking adoption continues to grow, 38% of consumers across all generations report that their biggest frustration with digital banking remains the fear of fraud and security concerns.
“The concerns around security and fraud are universal across all generational segments, but the older generations are a little bit more apprehensive than younger consumers,” Dahlgren said. “Financial services leaders who can solve security concerns will benefit substantially from increased online account opening and accelerated digital banking adoption.”