British banking evolves as mobile apps become top way to manage finances

According to the BBA data, customers are set to use mobiles to check their accounts 895 million times in 2015, beating 705 million branch visits. 

Usage of smartphones and tablets is set to spike further still – by 2020, Brits are set to use the devices 2.3 billion times to manage accounts, which is more than internet, branch and telephone banking combined.

Indeed, the BBA study follows a Citibank campaign that saw the company align with the likes of MasterCard and Uber on a search for mobile and fintech developers in May.

Recognising how important mobile had become for the banking sector, Jorge Ruiz, head of Citi’s Global Digital Acceleration Programme, discussed changing the world with fintech.

“We’ve been around for 203 years and want to be around for another 203 years. The only way to do that is by evolving,” he told Real Business. “The world is changing in multiple ways and financial institutions need to realise that, and they need to start playing a different game. That’s what we’re doing.”

The report also found that UK customers had downloaded banking apps 22.9 million times by the end of March 2015, up by 8.2 million year-on-year. The widespread adoption has resulted in £2.9 billion transferred a week via banking apps in 2015 – up from £2 billion last year.

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“Our report shows that there is much to look forward to. Biometric security features will allow us to get hold of our money faster and without going through the rigmarole of passwords and PIN codes,” said Anthony Browne, chief executive of the BBA.

“The possibilities of using data analytics to give customers greater insight into how they spend their money and the best offers, services or products is very exciting too.

“It is vital that the government invests more in 4G and high-speed broadband to ensure that as many people as possible can be included in the revolution that is sweeping through banking.”

By March this year, the study had found 9.6 million log-ins to internet banking each day, up by ten per cent year-on-year. Additionally, 1.3 million text message alerts were sent by banks to customers each day. 

In terms of declines, there was a 43 per cent fall in telephone communications with customers and banks between 2008 and 2013, and a six per cent drop in branch transactions in 2014.

David Ebstein, head of Digital for Financial Services at EY, added: “The British public is voting with its thumbs. Being mobile-enabled is a must, not a maybe, and banks that don’t engage properly with mobile channels risk losing relevance in customer’s lives. The next frontier of innovation will be delivering an exceptional customer experience through mobile, across products and services, and going beyond banking.

“The mass migration to mobile banking is an opportunity for banks to better engage with customers and regain trust customer by customer. Competition is intensifying, and successfully joining the dots between mobile, internet and branch banking could make the difference between winning and losing customers.”

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