Australians appetite for online banking and digital services is growing - particularly the option to open accounts via the Web.
That's according to a new survey conducted in July 2014 by iView Research using an online survey method of 1000 Australian adults.
It found while 74 per cent of customers were satisfied with their bank’s existing digital capabilities, 47 per cent of young people want to be able to open a transaction account online, 49 per cent a savings account online, and 37 per cent a personal loan account online.
These services are only offered by a few Australian banks and usually with limitations.
Younger generations were generally more in favour of online account opening and men more than women.
ME Bank chief executive, Jamie McPhee, said the level of interest in online account opening was high considering it was a service not widely available in the Australian market.
“Opening a transaction or deposit account is moving from a manual days-long operation that can involve visiting a branch or calling a call centre, to a few minutes without speaking to anyone, which is a huge leap in convenience," he said.
Other digital banking services being demanded included real time transactions, chat facilities and budgeting tools.
The survey found 53 per cent of respondents wanted real-time online banking (as real-time inter-bank transfers), 27 per cent wanted access to online customer service chat facilities and 26 per cent wanted budgeting or money management tools (alerts, analysis of spending habits)
Further, 27 per cent wanted to make payments with their mobile phone (through a mobile site or app), while 25 per cent wanted the ability to switch banks through online/mobile banking.
McPhee said basic digital banking services had proven reliable and convenient, but that industry moving toward a model where consumers want to do everything from a digital device that they can in a branch.
“Some consumers will always prefer face-to-face services, particularly for more complex products like home loans, but there is undoubtedly a growing demand from younger people,” he said.
The survey also showed comfort with branchless banking.
It is growing among younger people: 30 per cent of Gen Ys said they would be happy to never visit a bank branch again. This compared with 24 per cent of Gen Xers and 18 per cent of Baby Boomers.
Respondents cited ‘convenience’, ‘ease’ and ‘speed’ as the most valuable characteristics of digital banking.
McPhee said there was a race among banks to digital services.
“While people are generally happy with digital banking services, we’ve only just scratched the surface of what can be done. Innovation in online services will become a key battleground between banks in the years to come," he said.
“Applying for home loans online and automated credit decision-making processes are areas undergoing massive innovation and are services ME Bank is working to offer customers in the near future.”
ME Bank is due to complete its four-year, $70 million technology transformation program in 2015 and recently launched online account opening all our deposit and transaction accounts, with loan products soon to follow.