Mobile apps remain the most popular choice for consumers when banking, according to a new survey commissioned by the American Bankers Association. Research firm Morning Consult polled more than 2,200 U.S. adults about what methods they used the most to manage their bank accounts during the past 12 months. Forty-five percent of bank customers cited apps on phones or other mobile devices as their top option—the third year in a row that mobile banking was the most popular choice among consumers. Twenty-seven percent of customers preferred online banking on a laptop or PC. Branch banking, which fell to 10% during the pandemic, increased to 14% at the expense of other channels such as ATMs (which went from 8% last year down to 6% this year) and telephone calls (which fell from 7% last year to 3% this year).
Different generations had different preferences for how they accessed banking services, according to the survey. More than half of Generation Z, millennials and Generation X used mobile banking apps most often, while a plurality of baby boomers most often used online banking (38%). One in five baby boomers (20%) visited bank branches the most often, while only 6% of Gen Z preferred to visit a branch.
The ABA survey results align with those of the FDIC’s most recent National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, which found that the percentage of banked households citing mobile apps as their preferred banking method jumped from 15.1% in 2017 and 34% in 2019 to 43.5% in 2021.
“As mobile banking capabilities have evolved exponentially over the past decade thanks to bank investments in technology, we’ve seen many consumers become more comfortable embracing their phones and tablets to make everyday transactions,” said Brooke Ybarra, ABA senior vice president of innovation strategy. “When the pandemic made in-person interactions more difficult, even more people leveraged the easy-to-use technology at their fingertips to deposit checks, pay bills or send money to friends, and they haven’t looked back. At the same time, in-person branch visits continue to play an important albeit less frequent role for many bank customers, particularly when it comes to more complex transactions.”