Around a third of UK customers want financial firms to deliver text and e-mail-based mobile banking services so they can access account information on the move, according to research published by The Henley Centre and commissioned by BT.
The survey found that over a third (39%) of respondents aged 25-44 want to deal with finances on the way to and from work and telephone banking, with its limited privacy, is no longer the preferred option.
Instead, nearly a third (29%) of those surveyed would like to text requests to their bank, for example to transfer money. A quarter (23%) would like tailored Internet banking for BlackBerrys, enabling them to e-mail instructions, carry out basic transactions and request information.
The research suggests that demand for mobile banking is set to soar even higher in future, with the under 24s showing significant interest in the services. Over half of 18-24s would like to receive SMS alerts about their balance or when money has been credited to their account. More than a third (39%) want overdraft warnings and a quarter (26%) would like to receive reminders for credit card payments.
The study also found that 41% of 18-24 year olds are interested in using Instant Messaging applications to have 'live' conversations with advisers about financial questions or issues.
However, although consumers like using Web and mobile banking services, the branch was still considered a core part of a bank's service and over half (61%) of online consumers still use their branch at least once a month.
Gary Bullard, managing director, UK, BT Global Services, says: "Automated services are great for consumers who want speedy access to information, and fantastic news for banks that are looking to improve operational efficiency as well as customer service. Personal service remains vital, however, and banks forget this at their peril."
Bullard says banks need to reconcile demand for quality financial advice with today's always-on culture: "Those that do this successfully will enjoy far greater loyalty, particularly from high value customers, than those that become little more than a brand on a range of automated services."