App-etite for mobile banking grows by 13 per cent

Brits logged into their mobile banking apps 5.5bn times in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 13 per cent. Meanwhile, banking customers had more than 5.5m webchats with their banks last year, a 24 per cent increase on the previous year.

According to a new report from UK Finance and EY, these figures demonstrate how digital banking has become the norm among British consumers, as digital innovation has transformed the way we manage our money.

The report – titled ‘The Way We Bank Now‘ – claims that the popularity of services such as Twitter, Facebook messenger and WhatsApp have inspired banks to launch similar features for their own customers. As a result, savers, borrowers and current account holders are becoming more comfortable with financial technologies such as banking apps, chatbots and video banking.

“Digital innovation is transforming how we engage with our banks – we’re now able to make payments and communicate with our bank at times which suit us through increasingly sophisticated apps and webchat services,” said Dan Cooper, UK banking and capital markets leader at EY.

“Given how busy people’s lives are nowadays, this is proving to be a real game changer.

“The pace of change is only set to quicken over the next few years as the likes of artificial intelligence and Open Banking bed in, which if implemented well, will truly revolutionise the way the British public banks once more.”

The report also found that digital banking is no longer the preserve of the younger generations. Almost half (49 per cent) of 65-year olds are now using online banking, compared with 59 per cent of 16-24-year olds and 69 per cent of 25-34-year olds.

“Technology is changing the way we communicate, work and shop and, as a result, the way we choose to manage our money,” added Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance.

“The industry has responded to this seismic social change, which is very much led by customers looking to make the most of digital innovation for convenience. The assumption that British consumers shy away from talking about money looks to be consigned to the last century, as webchats and video banking prove increasingly popular.

“It doesn’t stop there however. Banks are looking at analytics, the internet of things, virtual assistants and other technologies as customers’ desire for convenience drives a shift towards an increasingly digital world. Over the next few years and artificial intelligence will change the relationship we have, not only with our banks but also how we fundamentally access and utilise financial products and services.”

In 2017, 22m people used a banking app to manage their money, up from 19.6m the previous year. More than half (51 per cent) of those surveyed also used mobile apps to pay their bills, while 62 per cent used their smartphone to transfer money to friends and 27 per cent used mobile banking to set up standing orders.

Kathryn Gaw

Kathryn Gaw is a financial journalist based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has been writing about personal finance and investment trends for more than a decade, and her work has been featured in the Financial Times, City A.M., the Press Association, and The Irish Independent, among many other publications.