The 13th annual Fiserv Consumer Trends survey is clear about a couple of things, interest in digital banking is high and people love it.
Digital banking use grew from 79 million U.S. households in 2011, to 86 million today, and 35 million households are taking advantage of mobile banking, compared to 18 million in 2011. This is good news for banks. Fiserv’s research found that those who use digital banking are more likely to use other revenue-generating services like savings, loans and credit products.
One of the most surprising findings from the survey, says Steve Shaw, vice president, strategic marketing at Fiserv, "Consumers view their online banking site very favorably compared to the retail site they used most in the past three months."
A second attention getter: 75% of those over 60 polled use online banking.
As for what was different this year, not only was there a significant increase in mobile banking, but more interest in bill pay and e-pay services, especially among young folk. Nearly half of millennial nonusers and more than a third of Gen X nonusers say they want to try financial institutional bill pay. Similarly, the number of those interesting in receiving e-bills grew from one-quarter to one-third between 2013 and 2014.
What does all this mean? "Digital banking is more essential to consumers than ever before," says Shaw.
Despite growing popularity, the survey showed a noted lack of awareness among consumers. They aren’t in the know about what services are available from their financial institutions.
"People should look into what products are services are offered by their bank or credit union. They may be missing out on significant conveniences, such as P2P payment, or bill pay services that are available free of charge," says Shaw.
Financial institutions though, have to play their cards right if they want to maximize the benefits of digital banking. Shaw has a to-do list of sorts.
"They should focus digital product enhancements on just-in-time and just-in-case offerings to enable the type of experience consumers desire," says Shaw.
For example, same day posting of online banking transactions are highly sought after by those polled. Security alerts, bill reminders and balance alerts were all on the wish list of smartphone users.
Financial institutions also need to clear up misperceptions. "Highlight that mobile banking is secure. Clarify that financial institution bill pay does not require automatic payments and that users can pay anyone," says Shaw.
Promote, promote, promote. The financial institution’s site should tout the availability of e-bills and P2P payments, says Shaw. How it works should also be explained. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed say they are interested in using P2P, but lack of knowledge and misunderstandings about the service prevent them from using it.
Take advantage of opportunities. "Market the most salient value propositions to current and potential users; market additional services to high-potential existing users. Leverage existing data like income, age, online service use, to target solutions and offer the right product mix to the right customer at the right time. Emphasize benefits and the ability of product and services to overcome barriers."