Brits embrace digital banking revolution

8 July 2014

Tech-savvy Brits are making almost £1 billion worth of online banking and mobile transactions every day, as customers continue to reject high-street branches.

A report into the country's banking habits from the British Bankers' Association (BBA), found that millions of people are now using technology to make payments via online and mobile services - accounting for £6.4 billion worth of transactions every week, up from £5.8 billion a year ago.

Some 77% of people now log-on to their online or mobile banking at least once a month, while 14.7 million banking apps for mobile and tablets have been downloaded in the UK, 2.3 million of which have been downloaded since the beginning of 2014.

Spending on contactless cards is also expected to rise to £6.1 million a week this year - up from £3.2 million in 2013.

But while Brits are embracing the digital revolution, the report reveals that customers are increasingly turning their backs on branches.

RBS expects that just 10% of its transactions will be processed in-branch by the end of the year - down from 25% in 2010, while according to HSBC it has seen a 30% drop in its branch footfall in the past four years.

"Day-to-day branch use is falling sharply and while the size of these networks will decline, high-street outlets will remain for those bigger moments, such as when a customer takes out a mortgage, wants to assess their financial options or resolve a complaint," the report adds.

Banks are increasingly tuning into demand for hi-tech banking services and expanding their offerings and some are embracing technology to reach out to customers who have encountered difficulties with the banking system in the past.

For example, Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland ATMs are being upgraded with earphone points to make them easier for the visually impaired to use. And Skype technology is being used to enable deaf customers to use sign language and talk to qualified signers.

Anthony Browne, chief executive of the BBA, said: "This report shows just how enthusiastically the British public is embracing mobile banking, contactless cards and a range of other consumer-friendly banking technologies."

He added: "This study shows that banks have, are and will continue to compete against one another to offer customers innovative technology to win your custom. It's a revolution putting more power in your hands."

Nick Williams, consumer digital director for Lloyds Banking Group, said: "Our focus on digital is customer led, our aim is to make things easy for our customers to bank where they want, how they want, when they want - technology in everyday life is driving this expectation, and our ability to meet it."

He added: "The multi-channel banking experience is important to give customers choice and ease of access to services, that's why we are also investing in new technology across our branch network."

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