The pandemic has accelerated global digital transformation, leaving a lasting impact on consumer preferences. Take banking, for example.
The Digital-First Banking Tracker, a PYMNTS and NCR collaboration, found that more than three-quarters of US consumers – 78% – said they now prefer to do their banking digitally. Breaking this down, 41% said they preferred using mobile apps, while 37% said they liked using their financial institution (FI) website.
Apps’ improved usability and functionality can give them this edge, with the quality of mobile experiences often surpassing that of websites, as banks have invested more in mobile innovations in recent years.
These apps include features such as check deposit, fund transfers, and the ability to view account statements and balances. When physical branches were closed, FIs were forced to prioritize digital banking functionality and seek new ways to offer traditional in-person services.
Meanwhile, FIs still have work to do to gain consumer trust and deliver a personalized digital experience. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they still like doing business at a physical branch because of these factors.
Some consumers do their banking entirely online, a customer base that accounted for 27% of one survey. This number rises to 31% among 25-34 year olds and 36% among 35-44 year olds.
Yet that leaves most American consumers still doing some of their banking through other channels. As consumer preferences change, FIs will need to change with them. Providing customer experiences with the best digital capabilities will ensure that non-digital channels continue to meet the needs of customers who prioritize them.
The ongoing transition to digital banking will likely resemble the shift seen in the retail world, according to Henry Barclay, co-founder of financial management platform Pallo.
Physical bank branches are likely to complement rather than duplicate services available through digital channels by focusing on complex financial services and relationship management. We can see this transition exemplified by the move of many cashier-related services to advanced ATMs, a trend that is likely to accelerate.
To learn more about advancements in the world of digital banking, download the Digital-First Banking Tracker.