Banking customers in the UK have an app banking preference over online banking services.

According to a survey by financial services review website Smart Money People, 39% of consumers said that they prefer apps for banking while 38.6% showed preference for online banking.

App banking preference

Online banking was found to be most popular among those aged 65 and above. Popularity of the service was found waning among consumers aged between 18 and 24 years.

Further, 11.4% preferred to call while 11% preferred to pop into a branch.

Overall, 77.6% of banking customers said they prefer digital channels.

The south west of England was found to be the most digital, with 80% of consumers favouring digital channels. North West of England was found to be the least digital.

The views indicate a noticeable shift in consumers’ banking preferences compared to 2017, when 45.2% favoured online banking and 30.2% preferred apps.

“For a long time, banking apps weren’t worth dealing with the hassle and perceived security risks. Most of them were awkward and ugly, with a clunky UI and limited functionality. They didn’t do anything you couldn’t do through a website, and they often did a lot less. But the rise of app-only challenger banks and other FinTech apps is beginning to normalise app-based banking, reassuring app users that the systems are secure,” Smart Money People said.

App rankings

More than ever before, apps are crucial to the customer experience. Many utilise the tech daily and a bad app can ruin a brand.

RBI has aggregated user rankings from the Apple and Android app stores to find an overall rating of mobile banking apps. Of 100 traditional banks, 49 scored ratings of 4.0 or above out of 5.0, and 17 out of 30 digital banks had ratings of 4.0 or above. However, none of the traditional or digital banks dropped below an overall rating of 2.0.

Speed and responsiveness are hugely important for customers to carry out banking tasks effectively. Itaú Unibanco achieved an overall rating of 4.4. Its app is praised for its simplicity and quick response time.

Lívia Chanes, head of digital channels at Itaú Unibanco, comments: “We aim to design functions that answer our clients’ demands – we want an app that is more convenient and intuitive. To achieve that, we have thorough monitoring of feedback from app stores and social media.”