The rise and rise of digital banking

  • By Andrew Starke

Australian customers would prefer to resolve their basic banking issues without having to deal with a human being, according to new research, with younger generations leading the switch to banking on mobile devices.

According to a Customer Experience in Banking 2017 report released by Avaya on Thursday, Australians’ most-preferred method of contact with their bank is via the website, while a third regularly use mobile banking apps, more than their counterparts in the UK and UAE.  

The survey covered more than 5,000 banking customers in four countries – Australia, India, the UK, and the UAE. Given the choice of only one channel, 28 per cent of the 1,153 Australians surveyed would prefer access to a complete list of services via their bank’s web site, only speaking to a person if they really have to.

Likewise, 19 per cent would prefer to use a mobile app, while eight per cent would choose to access services through the contact center application. More than half, 54 per cent, regularly use online banking, behind only the UK’s 60 per cent, while only 36 per cent usually visit their branch, the joint-lowest with the UK.

This is consistent with RFi Group research which in June found that 48 per cent of Australian smartphone owners would prefer to have no human interaction when seeking advice about finances.

Both researchers surveyed the younger generations leading the digital banking uptake. RFi found that 88 per cent of under 35s had banked via an app on their mobile device (smartphone, tablet) while Avaya concluded that 58 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds and 53 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds regularly used mobile apps for this purpose.

However, traditional interactions continue to hold a place in the financial services industry. Avaya found that 22 per cent of Australians prefer to visit branches, a figure led by older respondents, with a third of over-55s selecting that option.

RFi also found that traditional banking was far from dead with bank branches the most popular channel for applying banking products, resolving problems/ complaints, making account deposits, seeking investment advice and to ask questions about bank products.