Digital-only bank startups in the UK could be on a hiding to nothing, as almost half of consumers rate in-person service at a bank branch as an important factor in meeting their financial needs.
Despite claims that digital-only banks such as Starling and Atom Bank are set to be a hit with UK banking customers when they launch this year, an online poll of 2000 consumers by Intelligent Environments finds that barely one-in-eight respondents plan to open an account with a challenger bank.
While 60% say that mobile and digital banking services are very important to them, two-thirds of the sample believe that more established banks would provide superior service through direct channels than their new competitors. Trust and security is a big issue, with a clear majority (86% and 84% respectively) favouring traditional banks on these scores.
The research also shows that more than half (52%) of UK banking customers don’t like the idea of not being able to speak to someone in person if they have a problem, along with 44% claiming that they wouldn’t switch because in branch services are important to them.
David Webber, managing director of Intelligent Environments, says: “As our research shows, many of the UK’s banking customers still like the personal touch. Traditional providers have a fantastic opportunity now to improve their digital and mobile services, and to focus on providing a superior in-branch experience for customers."