About 77% of consumers whose bank offers a mobile app have downloaded it, an increase of 5% over 2015, and 12% over 2014. Those in the 18-24-year-old range have the highest adoption rate at 92%, but there are increases across all age groups. In fact, half of those over age 65 use their bank’s app.
Americans are increasingly turning to their bank’s mobile app to conduct financial tasks, but many still rely on in-person interactions when seeking financial advice or learning about services, according to a new study by Market Force Information, an innovator in customer experience management. More than 9,500 consumers were polled for the retail banking industry study, which also revealed that PNC is consumers’ favorite national bank based on satisfaction.
The most prevalent app activities are checking balances and statements, transferring funds and depositing money into accounts. Very few are using the app to apply for new bank accounts or withdraw emergency cash.
While mobile app use is on a fast track, digital wallet usage is growing at a slower clip. Fifty-seven percent of consumers surveyed do not know what a digital wallet is or how it is used. Only 14% are using digital wallets, a slight 2% increase from 2015, with the highest adoption rate among 25-34 year-olds. PayPal Mobile and Apple Pay are the most widely used digital wallets, and the most common activities are making payments, using “tap-and-pay” for purchases and storing a loyalty card.
Even as new technologies take hold, more than half of consumers still bank with traditional retail banks – 59% report doing so today, which represents a 4% drop from 2015. Credit unions, community banks and microfinance banks are steadily rising in popularity, with 30% opting for these financial institutions. Only 3% use an ebank with no physical branch locations.
Loyalty runs deep, with 85% of customers reporting that they’ve stayed with the same bank for three years or more. Still, 12% indicated they are considering switching primary banks in the next six months. Most said they’d switch to find lower fees or because they don’t believe their bank is improving their financial wellbeing.
Market Force found the in-person touch is still important for banking customers seeking advice or education, and it can bolster loyalty. In the past 90 days, one-fifth of respondents said they went into a branch to speak with an advisor about products and services. Those who did reported 5% higher satisfaction levels than those who didn’t, and they were 8% more likely to recommend their bank to others.
To learn which banks are delivering exceptional experiences, Market Force Information asked participants to rate their satisfaction with their most recent banking experience and their likelihood to refer that national bank to others. The results were averaged to attain a Composite Loyalty Score. PNC Bank ranked No. 1 for the first time, overtaking last-year’s leader Chase, which landed the second-place spot this year. U.S. Bank dropped one ranking from 2015 to third, while Wells Fargo and Bank of America rounded out the top 5.
Study leader PNC Bank ranked first in two of the four areas shown to impact customer satisfaction, including security & reputation and location convenience. Chase nabbed the top spots for ease of doing business and transparency & fairness, a category where U.S. Bank trailed by just 1%. Wells Fargo ranked second for location convenience and ease of doing business.
Out of the five banks studied, Bank of America was last in each attribute, a position unchanged from the 2015 study.