No App for Banking Relationships

Despite a rapid decline in the use of traditional banking methods such as check writing, U.S. consumers are not in favor of completely digitizing personal engagement, according to a new survey from U.S. Bank, Minneapolis.

The survey reported that 29 percent of millennials say that they have never written a check, compared to just 16 percent of gen X and 13 percent of baby boomers. The survey also found that almost two-thirds (63 percent) of Americans believe they will never make all of their financial transactions digitally.

What is the source of this reluctance? Nearly 80 percent of consumers fear bad customer service from banks that “go completely digital.” That could explain why 86 percent plan to bank in physical branches over the next five years. Further emphasizing the desire for personal interaction, eight out of 10 Americans prefer working with a professional banker instead of a virtual one to resolve issues.

The findings come from “The Balancing Act: U.S. Bank 2015 Outlook on People and Technology,” which uncovered some surprising facts about how consumers expect to use financial services in the future.

Approximately 70 percent of consumers across all generations (85 percent of millennials) believe banks that are current with the latest technology are more trustworthy than banks that lag; however, nearly four out of five Americans say when it matters most, they value people more.

“Consumers are challenging the industry to meet them where they are, and that requires a mastery of the delicate balance between convenience, security, and personalized engagement,” says Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer at U.S. Bank, and innovation coach.

Boomers’ surprising high-tech appetite

When asked what technology they were most excited to try, millennials said they want to use 3-D printers in order to print debit or credit cards at home. Gen X and baby boomers are most excited to try retina scanners to sign for purchases.

Contrary to today’s headlines, in some instances, older generations are even more receptive to new technology than millennials, who are traditionally thought of as early adopters. Two out of five (41 percent) of respondents who are 65 years or older say they would sign for purchases with an eye scan, compared to just 22 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 24. Furthermore, those in the 65+ age group (24 percent) were almost twice as likely to try a biochip implant for making payments and all banking transactions as all other age groups.

Additional survey findings

The survey also offers insights into consumer behavior across geographies and gender. A sampling includes:

  • Going paperless: West coast (21 percent) versus east coast (15 percent) have never written a check.
  • Going completely digital: Female (69 percent) versus male (55 percent) will never make all transactions digitally.
  • Trust in bankers: Millennials (19 percent) versus boomers (10 percent) bank at branches because they have a relationship with a banker they trust. Conducted in October 2015, the U.S. Bank survey polled more than 1,000 adults ages 18 and older in the United States to better understand consumer attitudes and behaviors toward emerging banking technologies and compares differences across gender, geography, and generation.

“American consumers want more from their banks than apps—they want advocates,” said Gareth Gaston, executive vice president, Omnichannel, U.S. Bank.

Conducted in October 2015, the U.S. Bank survey polled more than 1,000 adults ages 18 and older in the United States to better understand consumer attitudes and behaviors toward emerging banking technologies and compares differences across gender, geography, and generation.

U.S. Bancorp, with $416 billion in assets is the parent company of U.S. Bank N.A., the nation’s fifth-largest commercial bank, with offices in 25 states.

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