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Survey: Bank Customers Preference for Digital Channels Continues to Grow

Mobile apps nearly overtake online banking for top spot while branches remain popular


Nearly three-quarters of Americans (73 percent) most often access their bank accounts via online and mobile platforms, according to a recent survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the American Bankers Association, an increase over last year (72 percent). The number of those who identified online banking via laptop or PC as their top option fell to 37 percent (from 42 percent in 2018), while those who used apps on phones or other mobile devices grew to 36 percent, up from 30 percent compared with last year’s survey. Nearly 1 in 5 of those surveyed (17 percent) continue to conduct their transactions in person at their bank’s branch most frequently.

“As mobile platforms become more sophisticated and user-friendly, it’s not surprising that mobile banking apps are becoming more popular with consumers,” said Nessa Feddis, ABA’s senior vice president and counsel for regulatory compliance and policy. “Banks have made significant investments in their digital platforms to make it easier, quicker and safer for people to manage their money. Consumers are taking advantage of that. ”

An infographic of the results is available here. The data released today are the latest in a series of results gauging consumers’ preferences and opinions regarding banks and their services. Last week’s data revealed that Americans are highly satisfied with their bank and trust banks more than any other entity to keep their personal information safe and secure. The full results for today’s survey questions are as follows:

When asked “Which method do you use most often to manage your bank account?” consumers responded as follows:

  • Online (Laptop or PC) – 37 percent;
  • Mobile (app on smartphone or tablet) – 36 percent;
  • Bank Branches – 17 percent;
  • ATM – 6 percent;
  • Telephone – 3 percent; and
  • Mail – 1 percent. 

A breakdown of age demographics shows different preferences among different age groups. More than 6 in 10 Americans aged 18-29 (62 percent) use mobile banking the most, while more than half of those aged 65 and older (57 percent) do most of their banking online. Visiting a bank branch is the second most popular option with Americans aged 65 and older (26 percent), while only 11 percent of those aged 18-44 prefer to visit a branch to conduct transactions. [See infographic for a full breakdown of top banking preferences by age]

“The continued popularity of branches is a testament to the efforts banks have made to modernize and personalize the customer experience at those locations,” said Feddis. “While many customers lean toward a favorite banking method, we’re seeing that most typically use a mix of the account management methods that financial institutions offer. They like having options.”

About the Survey
This poll was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the American Bankers Association from October 10-12, 2019, among a national sample of 2,200 adults. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.


About the American Bankers Association

The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $22.5 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ more than 2 million people, safeguard $18 trillion in deposits and extend nearly $11 trillion in loans.

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