COVID-19 pandemic will drive even more people to bank digitally

(Roman Oleinik/Wikimedia Commons)

People’s experience with the financial services industry lags behind the experience they receive elsewhere, and the shortcomings are even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, new research from MMR LIVE shows.

The findings are included in the forthcoming ExperienceBuilt™ Brand Index from Atlanta-based MMR LIVE. The Index looked at how brands delivered against MMR LIVE’s Eight Principles of Experience Design.

The findings are supported by new research from parent company MMR Research Associates, which found the COVID-19 pandemic is hastening a shift toward digital banking, one that is likely to continue after the outbreak subsides. The research also found that roughly two-thirds of consumers expect to increase their reliance on digital banking following the pandemic.

“The survey data clearly shows more people are willing to go digital with their banking experiences,” said Patricia Houston, Founder and COO of MMR LIVE, an experience design group. “They just needed the extra push to do so, and COVID-19 gave them that reason. Moving forward, banks should look at how they can expand and enhance their digital offerings without sacrificing the customer experience.”

While some branch visits have continued during the COVID-19 pandemic, a majority have involved ATM transactions rather than interactions with bank tellers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the use of digital banking has increased during COVID-19, along with monitoring accounts for fraud.

Even during COVID-19-imposed restrictions, 24 percent of respondents to the survey said they have visited a bank and used the ATM (including 33 percent of those who usually visit a bank). Furthermore, 14 percent said they visited a bank and interacted with a representative or a teller (including 23 percent of those who ordinarily visit a bank).

But, the survey of 1,004 total respondents found a clear shift to digital banking during the outbreak. More than four in 10 (41 percent) of those who typically visit or call a bank said they have used their bank’s website or its mobile app.

The survey also found 33 percent of those who usually visit a bank plan to use manual online bill pay during the pandemic, while 29 percent said they plan to use online check deposits. Additionally, 24 percent said they will take advantage of online chat functionality to talk with a bank representative, while 20 percent will use a digital offering to submit documents for verification.

After the pandemic subsides, nearly one in three customers (30 percent) who regularly visit a bank plan to use online options to manually pay bills, while almost half (49 percent) plan to use online offerings to check account balances. Just one-third of respondents who typically visit a bank say they foresee no change in their banking habits.

“Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, the shift toward digital banking was widely documented as younger customers were changing the parameters of the traditional banking-customer relationship,” Houston said. “New generations, in particular, are driving meaningful service innovations that put customers in the driver’s seat of their own banking experience.”

For more information, visit MMR.LIVE.

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