The Rise of Mobile Banking

I once made the mistake of visiting a bank to open a new credit card. After a lengthy wait, the banker began by asking about my plans for the weekend and favorite sports teams. The small talk, while pleasant, wasn’t bringing me any closer to that credit card. I wondered if there was an app I could have used instead.

Turns out, I’m far from the only young consumer looking to escape the in-person process for the ease of mobile banking. According to a January 2017 Salesforce study, 31 percent of millennials use mobile as their primary banking option, nearly double any other channel.

rise of mobile banking

Millennials aren’t the only generation choosing to automate their finances. Fifty-one percent of Gen X and 40 percent of baby boomers also use mobile apps or websites as their primary banking channel. Across all demographics, 62 percent of Americans prefer online banking to any other option, per a 2016 Bank of America survey—an 11 percentage point increase from the previous year. The study found that convenience was the major factor for the uptick. Nearly nine out of 10 surveyed use mobile banking alerts and notifications to stay up to date on deposits made to their account, fraud warnings, or low balances.

Aside from the convenience of computers and cell phones, some could argue that face-to-face interactions leave more room to manipulate customers. Bankers often work on commission, providing an incentive to sell unknowing customers products and services they don’t need. Technology firms have responded by creating digital solutions to common financial problems, “making it easier to avoid the headaches and fees associated with traditional banking,” writes Lauren Lyons Cole of the International Business Times.

Bill Gates once famously said “Banking is essential. Banks are not.” While personal bankers might go the way of the insurance or travel agent, the institutions are here to stay. They just need to meet modern consumers in the right way. For this millennial, that’s in the palm of my hand.

Image by Getty

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