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Online Banking Preferred, but Branches are preferred for Service

4 October 2010

3501350644 34112b04bb 150x150 Online Banking Preferred, but Branches are preferred for ServiceAs I was going through some financial websites I tend to visit, I cam across an interesting article on The Financial Brand, which was titled “People Bank Online, But Prefer Branches for Service”.

The article gave insight to a study done by Empathica, which encompassing 15,000 Americans and Canadians. In this study, it found that people prefer online banking, but like the branch to support them when a problems arise.

The report focused on identifying consumers’ preferred banking channels, revealed another strange contradiction in consumers’ banking behavior. I also found it interesting that despite consumers’ trust with online banking, mobile banking still lacks mainstream acceptance.

What are the facts?

For routine transactions, 41.4% of consumers have indicated that their preferred banking channels that were online, followed by branches at 32.6%, ATMs at 23.3%, mobile at a distant 4th at 1.5% and lastly telephone banking at 1.3%.

The interesting fact is that when consumers are faced with problems, the preferences are shifted drastically. Consumers will often want to speak with a person when they have an account issue. 60% has noted that they would visit a branch with a banking problem, while 34% prefer to use the phone.

I do not find it surprising that people prefer to go into branches to discuss any account issues. Personally, I am the exact same way. I prefer to face the issue face to face with a customer service rep, simply because it is easier to explain my problems to someone face to face. The only time I would call in to solve any of my problems are when I am strapped for time, or the branch is closed (longer hours, maybe?).

Why are consumers not rushing to adopt mobile banking?

North American consumers have yet to fully harness mobile banking. The fact is that 51.2% of US consumers, and 60.3% of Canadian consumers say that they do not trust the security of mobile banking, compared to the 21.7% of US and 26.2% of Canadians who say they do not trust online banking.

For me, I find that conjecture to be pointless. The reason banks make mobile banking applications is to give consumers a method to check their bank accounts anywhere. The security on the other hand is extremely secure, especially when you compare it to how people would check their bank account on their mobile phone. I know I was among many, who would simply go on the browser on their phone and log into my bank account.

Mobile banking has a very low percentage of primary users in Canada, with those who do use it express a high level of affection for their financial institution. Banks better wake up, people LOVE you when you provide mobile applications. Why? You provide value to your customers, you make it easier for your clients to do banking, and you don’t waste their time.

I for one use mobile banking, and it goes without saying that I would recommend it to anyone; the data shows that 83% of Canadian consumers are likely to recommend the service to another person.

Seeing as the major issue for consumers is privacy and security concerns, it will only be a matter of time before that notion is dropped. As technology continues to develop, it will only be a matter of time before more people begin to adopt it, and trust the security of mobile banking. Remember the security concerns when online banking came out? I’ll go even one step further, remember when telephone banking came out… I think you get my point.

Visiting branches vs online banking

With everything that has been said, it is important to realize that you need to have both methods in balance with each other. For routine transactions, it would be better to use online banking, do not waste your bank’s time with handling simple bill payments. However, it is always a good idea to visit your local branch on occasion to make a relationship with the staff. I know I’ve developed a solid relationship with my bank branch and they go above and beyond for me.

The reason I say this is because you will be able to benefit from the staff going the extra mile for you once your relationship is built.

How do you prefer to solve your banking issues?Are you a fan of online banking? More traditional and like to visit the actual branch?

About the Author


My favorite weapon of choice is the samurai sword. I use it to cut my chicken during dinner, cut my hair and periodically carve my name into stone when I am bored. I love meditating on top of a 15ft high pole and eating those sushi’s with smoked salmon on top. I love everything there is about Canada and everything financially related to Canadians. I write deily posts from Canadian Banks to Credit Card information.

Comments (1 )

I use online and phone banking for all my transactions. I visit Banks only when Banks wants meto do so, I mean in situations where in I need to sign-off, provide identity proofs etc. 
And its true for everyone when you are in trouble you want to be listened, guess thats why people visit branches in case of problem. 

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