Digital Shift Continues in Financial Services

Use of online, mobile, and tablet banking continues to grow, survey reports.

February 28, 2012

Consumers are gravitating more toward online and mobile channels for daily financial management, and they’re showing a strong interest in tablet banking services, according to “Financial Services Continue the Digital Shift,” a consumer trends survey from Fiserv.

“Consumers’ lives are becoming more and more digital, and their financial lives are no exception,” says Geoff Knapp, Fiserv’s vice president, online banking, digital channels. “They’re increasingly turning to the online and mobile channels for everything from opening accounts to sending and receiving money, and their interest in using new devices like tablets for financial services is strong.”

According to the survey of 3,000 consumers, one of four online households had used a mobile banking service in the past month. Users of other digital services, such as online banking, were the most likely to have used mobile banking.

The most common method of mobile banking access was via mobile browser (60%), followed by downloadable app (41%), and text messaging (32%).

Consumers are also moving beyond using the mobile channel solely for informational purposes (i.e., checking balances, locating an ATM) to using it for transactions such as bill payments and money transfers.

More than one-third (40%) of mobile banking users have paid a bill using a mobile phone, up from 28% 2010. Thirty-two percent used a mobile phone to transfer money versus 25% in 2010.

Tablet use grows

According to the survey, 19% of online households currently own a tablet and another 20% expect to purchase a tablet—which means almost 40% of online households could own a tablet by mid-2012.

In addition, multi-tablet households are emerging: 37% of households that own one tablet plan to buy another.

Current and future tablet owners appear open to using their devices to access financial services. Nearly half (45%) say they would like to use their tablet for banking.

When asked which banking services they would like to access via tablet, consumers chose:

  • View monthly statements (69%);
  • Pay bills (56%);
  • View real-time account information (50%); and
  • Transfer money between accounts at the same financial institution (49%).

As tablet ownership grows, demand for tablet-based banking is likely to grow as well.

Online account opening

The significance of the online channel in establishing and maintaining consumer financial relationships continues to increase.

One area in which this increase was particularly pronounced was online account opening, with the percentage of deposit, credit, and savings accounts opened entirely or partially online increasing significantly from 2010 to 2011.

In 2011, half of respondents who opened a money market account did so online, up from 16% in 2010, while 42% of respondents who applied for a credit card did so online, up from 31% in 2010.

Similar increases were seen across other accounts such as first mortgages and auto loans.

From January 2010 to July 2011, the number of U.S. online households using online banking grew 9%. The number of households paying bills directly at company websites and at financial institution websites also increased (11% in each case).

Among online households, online bill payments now account for 50% of all bill payments, while checks account for 23%--almost a complete flip from when the initial Consumer Trends Survey was conducted in 2002.

Visit Fiserv’s website for more detailed survey findings.