Study: Consumers like bank phone calls, but hesitate answering unknown numbers

Consumers prefer being called by their financial institutions for urgent matters, but a majority also ignore the call because they don’t recognize the number, according to a recent survey of more than 6,000 U.S. mobile subscribers. The study’s findings include U.S. customer sentiment related to national (52%) and regional (22%) banks, as well as credit unions and “other” firms (26%).

Forty-eight percent of consumers prefer a phone call over an email for urgent financial matters, with email totaling under 14%, according to a survey conducted by telecommunications firm First Orion. If an issue is due to suspected fraud, more than half surveyed (54%) chose a phone call as their preferred method of communication, a 14-point increase from 2020. Respondents reported liking the efficiency and security of a call and the ability to elaborate and ask questions. Nearly one-third of people want phone calls for financial matters beyond fraud such as financial planning, information about loans and money transfers.

Despite these preferences, nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents reported ignoring calls from their financial institution because they didn’t recognize the number or it was not properly identified. As a result, nearly 90% said it is “extremely/very important” that the financial institutions clearly identify themselves when calling. Fifty-eight percent said they would choose a different financial institution over their current one based on the ability to properly verify and identify themselves during an incoming call. In 2021, 51% received a scam/fraud call from a caller posing as their bank.

To help banks educate their consumers about how to recognize phishing attempts from scammers pretending to be their bank, ABA provides free resources through its popular campaign, #BanksNeverAskThat.