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Consumers Prefer Online Banking to Traditional Branch Banking

PRINCETON, N.J. May 21, 2012 interactive agencies

52 percent of respondents said their bank’s website is their primary method of banking, while only 32 percent said the branch was their primary method of banking. 48 percent of respondents said they would do all banking online if they could. 

Ned Elton

The Rosetta survey found that consumers use online banking most frequently to:

  • check account balances and recent activity
  • make an individual bill payment to another account
  • transfer money between accounts
  • obtain financial information

"Cash transactions, such as deposits and withdrawals, continue to keep consumers tethered to the branch," said Elton. "However, this is becoming less of a factor because people are using credit more often than cash and because of the emergence of alternative payment options, such as PayPal and near field communications." He also noted that mobile banking capabilities may further reduce the need for consumers to visit a retail branch.

The survey also found that the digital banking experience lags traditional retail banking in security, usability and rewards. 64 percent of respondents cited a need for stronger online security and privacy features; 57 percent of respondents cited a need for ‘clear and easy-to-follow’ online layouts; and 58 percent of respondents expressed interest in rewards/points programs for online banking.

"It is our belief that many Financial Services companies have yet to fully capitalize on the potential of digital marketing to acquire new and engage existing customers," said Elton. "As a result, their marketing continues to focus too much on traditional media channels and the ‘bricks and mortar’ world. We call this the ‘digital divide’."

Rosetta conducted the survey to better understand the size of the "digital divide" by asking consumers about their banking channel usage and preferences for how they use them. With more than 1,100 respondents across a variety of age groups and socioeconomic levels, the survey is significant for its size and scope. The survey was conducted in two waves in May and July of 2011.

Ned Elton [email protected]

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