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Survey Reveals Connection Between Financial Savviness & Use of Digital Banking Tools

Survey Reveals Connection Between Financial Savviness & Use of Digital Banking Tools
Access to digital tools empower Americans to take control of their finances

After a year in which many consumers had to rely heavily on digital tools for their financial needs, self-reported “financial experts” use digital tools more often than others, according to the KeyBank 2022 Financial Mobility Survey—highlighting a potential correlation between savviness, confidence, and the usage of digital banking tools.

Four in ten Americans say that access to digital banking tools make them feel empowered to take control of their finances, the highest-reported feeling among respondents. Self-reported financial experts, who more heavily relied on digital banking tools this year, are more likely to say they are very confident in growing their finances (71%), when compared to those who report being less savvy and have less experience with digital banking tools.

The KeyBank 2022 Financial Mobility Survey polled more than 1,000 Americans on their financial and work-related priorities after nearly a year of living through a pandemic, revealing the steps they have taken to become more financially mobile.

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Additionally, one in four survey respondents (23%) say they have more experience with digital banking in 2021, vs. 2020. Of those survey respondents who report their financial savviness as “expert,” nearly half (44%) say they relied more on digital banking tools in 2021 than the year prior. Comparatively, of those who report their financial savviness as “savvier than most,” “somewhat savvy” and “not financially savvy,” just 24%, 18% and 17%, respectively, say they relied more on digital banking tools in 2021 than the year prior.

“The growth in adoption of digital banking tools among consumers further solidifies their mindset of feeling savvy and confident in managing their own finances, while also looking for ease of access and efficiency of doing it at home or on-the-go,” said Jamie Warder, Executive Vice President and Head of Digital Banking at KeyBank. “As we continue down the path of digitally rooted banking experiences, it’s important for banks and financial institutions to push for education and adoption among all demographics, so no consumer is left behind.”

Younger Americans Crave a “Phygital” Approach

Despite the rise in reliance on digital banking tools in 2021, Millennials and Gen Zers—i.e., those under age 35—prefer a combination of digital and in-person banking more often than older Americans, who would rather exclusively use digital banking tools—a surprising discovery for technology-forward younger generations who often identify as digital natives.

“Digital banking helped many Americans weather the pandemic storm and stay connected to their financial health during lockdowns. Yet we are now seeing a growing number of younger individuals desiring the human connection and personalized financial advice provided by a banking professional,” said Warder. “This is especially the case as these individuals navigate the uncertainty and risk associated with ‘financial firsts,’ such as purchasing a home, buying a car or having a child.”

While the pandemic accelerated the adoption of online and mobile banking, the findings of KeyBank’s study show that consumers are continuing to seek guidance from trusted financial advisors to help chart a path forward, while still leveraging technology-enabled services to move up the wealth spectrum.

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“Over the past year, we have seen our clients increasingly crave digital support, but the broader truth remains: We have to meet clients where they are on their individual journeys,” said Justin Hunsaker, Senior Vice President and Head of Digital Wellness and Originations at KeyBank. “For some clients, that will mean a fully digital solution, while others will want in-person expert advice. For most, the best solution will involve combining both digital and in-person financial choices for a seamless banking experience, rather than friction and confusion that having separate options may cause.”

The increased reliance on digital banking tools helped many Americans maintain healthy financial habits to endure economic uncertainty. As of June 2021, KeyBank’s Digitally Active clients signed on (to either desktop or mobile) an average of 20.2 times per month, proving the acceleration of digital tool adoption.

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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