ATLANTA (5/6/11)--Four out of 10 consumers surveyed would prefer to learn about new financial services technology by talking with someone at their credit union or bank, rather than learning it on their own, says a new study unveiled at First Data's Leadership Summit 2011. While financial institutions try to keep up with the latest banking innovations, more than a third of their member/customers surveyed said that technology advances too quickly for them (Business Wire
May 5). The study, conducted by First Data, an electronic commerce and payment processing provider, and Market Strategies International, a global market research consultancy, reviewed consumer characteristics and their attitudes toward and use of technology such as online and mobile banking. It aimed to help financial institutions better understand which investments in technology will drive increased loyalty and transaction frequency among a wide variety of member/customers. It also identified trends about retail banking customers' perceptions and relationships with their financial institutions. "Our goal is to provide real, actionable data to help our financial institution clients develop focused technology plans," said Larry Drury, senior vice president, Global Marketing, at First Data. "These results will help our clients strike the right balance between technology and personal relationships regarding their retail banking customers." The study's findings included:
* Fifteen percent of consumers surveyed currently use mobile banking, and 3% indicated they intend to start using the feature in the next 12 months. Roughly 47% said they are familiar with the service but are not using it. That indicated that consumer education still is needed regarding the benefits of mobile banking, researchers said. * While two-thirds of consumers are familiar with account alerts, 37% of banked consumers currently use them, indicating that credit unions and banks may need to shift some of their focus from awareness to activation. * Six in 10 consumers surveyed still receive paper statements. That presents a "tremendous opportunity for cost savings" for credit unions and banks, said the report.
The research also identified six simplified but distinct segments of banking consumers based on demographic, behavioral and attitudinal differences--including consumers' inclination to use banking technology products and services. They are:
* Fast trackers--young family types who rely on smart phones and banking apps; * Young aspirationals--singles with varied interests and little banking loyalty; * Simplifiers--middle-aged, lower-income wage earners loyal to their local financial institutions; * Middle of the roaders--Middle-aged wage earners who wait until technology is proven; * Value seekers--Older, well-educated and financially comfortable who aren't interested in a lot of technology; and * Conventional stalwarts--Fixed-income retirees who prefer paper statements and live tellers.
"Having a better understanding of consumers' acceptance of technology, and the level of technology they're comfortable with, will help financial institutions reverse the troubling trend brought on by recent economic challenges," said Mark Willard, senior vice president and head of the financial services division at Market Strategies International. "We need to help financial institutions drive more transactions and strengthen loyalty. Our research points to the way technology can be leveraged to achieve those goals," Willard concluded.