Digital banking tipping point set for 2015, and customers will pay for it - PwC

Digital banking tipping point set for 2015, and customers will pay for it - PwC

By 2015 more people will interact with their banks digitally than through branches, and they'll be prepared to pay for the privilege, according to a global survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The poll of 3000 people in nine countries shows that most are willing to pay up to £10 a month for digital banking services if they believe they offer convenience and value. The research reveals that customers are willing to pay for social media notifications, an electronic wallet for loyalty cards and financial tools provided by banks.

In the UK, almost two thirds of respondents are prepared to pay just over £4 a month for their bank to store loyalty card information and convert accumulated points into cash. This amounts to an annual fee income for banks of approximately £50 per customer.

PwC says its findings show that banks have been slow to respond to the digital innovations that have changed business models and redefined customer experience in other sectors such as retail and travel.

Matt Hobbs, retail and commercial banking partner, PwC, says: "Generation Y are now choosing their main banking provider and represent an important source of future value for banks. Banks need to take their digital products to the next level if they want to secure these customers as they expect a rich digital experience that is both mobile and social and integrates their banking needs with their digital lives."

However, despite technology opening up banking to a number of new players, there is little evidence to suggest that they will be successful in taking over the entire customer relationship from banks, says PwC.

The survey reveals that the majority of respondents - 61% - still trust their banks over other providers with their current account, although new entrants, such as mobile payment providers, will act as a catalyst for change. This means banks may need to partner with technology, mobile and other non-traditional providers in order to deliver the digital experience customers now expect.

Says Hobbs: "The growth of digital has removed key barriers to market entry, including the need for large branch networks, customer inertia and brand trust. Because of this, banks need to consider strategic acquisitions or partnerships with digital innovators to secure their long-term position and market share."

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