New research from Nationwide has shown that consumers have never been more in touch with their spending habits, as thanks to technological advancements in the banking sector, people are checking their bank balance more than ever before.
Much of this newfound financial connectedness is due to the continued rise in online banking, with updated smartphone apps meaning it's easier and quicker than ever to stay on the ball with your finances.
Indeed, Nationwide found that 83% of consumers now check the balance of their current account once a week or more, while 52% like to check their spending all the time. And, because they can check it wherever they are, there's no need to wait for a statement to fall through the door.
The research also showed that 81% use online banking more frequently than any other method. Little wonder, given the convenience, it's little wonder – 68% say they use their mobile banking app from the comfort of their sofa, 50% do so from bed and 42% even use their working hours to conduct their banking activities.
Not only that, but in 2015, a total of £2.9 billion was transferred each week through mobile and tablet banking alone, which further highlights the value people place on it.
"This research shows customers are using mobile banking from many places, all of the time," said Barnaby Davis of Nationwide. "I remember a time when customers would check their balance once a month on a bank statement; now we see people checking their bank once a day, and in many cases more times than that."
Times have certainly changed! But what could make modern banking even more worthwhile? According to the survey, 15% said they'd like to have even greater control of their money by being able to clearly see how much they've spent on daily impulse purchases such as coffee, while 14% would benefit from being able to search transactions according to dates and time periods, and 13% think that being able to search by location would give more financial control.
Given that 25% admit they have a fair to non-existent ability to stay on top of their finances, having even more control over their spending would no doubt be beneficial, particularly as the typical respondent was found to spend £55.77 each month on things they hadn't budgeted or accounted for – adding up to almost £700 per year.
While it's difficult to be completely in control of your budget – some purchases will always be unexpected, after all – the fact that it's now possible to view your account balance and transaction history with a few taps on a smartphone screen is undoubtedly beneficial. Being able to instantly see your bank balance when you're shopping can avoid nasty surprises, and it could even make you think twice when it comes to unnecessary impulse buys.
"People are no longer shocked when checking their balance as they are looking at it much more frequently," added Barnaby. "This allows everyone to feel financially empowered by keeping on track of their finances."
So, are you empowered? If you've yet to get on the digital banking bandwagon, it could be time to take the plunge. Doing so could make it far easier to stay on top of your finances and can give you back control of your spending. If your bank doesn't offer online banking facilities that are as sophisticated as you'd like – or if you're not happy with your current account for any other reason – don't be afraid to compare alternatives and see if you can find a better deal.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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