Generations clash over bank channel preferences

Generations clash over bank channel preferences

US bank customers under the age of 34 prefer the anonymity of banking by laptop to the in-person branch banking experience, according to a survey conducted by the American Bankers Association.

The annual survey of 1000 consumers, conducted for the ABA by Ipsos-Reid asked questions designed to take a snapshot of current consumer trends. When consumers were asked what banking method they use most often, respondents put branches out in front at 36%, followed by the online channel at 23% and ATMs at 21%, with telephone (five percent), and mail (eight percent) bringing up the rear.

However, the survey found strong generational differences in consumer preferences. While banking at a local branch was the clear favourite of nearly half of those over the age of 55, only a quarter of under-34s used the branch on a regular basis. In fact, younger customers ranked branches behind online banking (30%), while older customers rated the branch (47%) and ATM (17%) far ahead of banking by PC (13%).

Edward Yingling, ABA president and CEO, comments: "We are continuing to find that while our younger consumers feel comfortable banking from their laptops, traditional services are still preferred by many. This is why banks are trying to offer a variety of banking options in order to meet all of their customers' needs."

UK payments body Apacs meanwhile has today released telephone, Internet banking and e-commerce figures for 2006, which reveal that in the past five years the greatest proportion of new Internet banking users are in the over-55 age group.

The five-year growth statistics for online banking show that the number of adults in the UK using online banking has increased by 174% from 6.2 million in 2001 to 17.0 million last year. This includes a 350% increase in usage amongst the over 55s.

In contrast, the growth in telephone banking has been less pronounced in recent years, and in December last year Apacs announced that for the first time the number of people using online banking exceeded those using telephone banking.

Sandra Quinn, director of communications at Apacs, comments: "While younger people continue to make up the majority of online banking users, the greatest proportion of new Internet bankers are the over 55s. As a group they have come to embrace the ease and efficiency that online banking offers."

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