With increasingly regular reports of bank branches closing, it may seem like customers are being left in the lurch. However, a new report from CACI reveals that around 60% of current account holders are forecast to be using mobile banking in 2020, which means having a local branch may not be as crucial as it might seem anymore.
CACI have forecast the increasing use of mobile banking based on current data, and expect that with 65% of the population currently owning a smartphone and 22 million customers having used mobile banking apps last year, 35 million Brits will be using their mobiles to do their banking by 2023. What's more, they expect mobile banking to overtake internet banking's use as early as next year.
There are certain advantages to using your phone to bank: it's convenient, you don't have to rely on opening hours and it can be very helpful in emergencies. While you can't take money out or put new money in, the increased use of contactless payments also means only businesses tend to need this service on a regular basis.
Predictably, younger people were the first to turn to mobile banking, but those nearing or in retirement are also starting to become more comfortable with it. Indeed, the analysts at CACI expect this to be the fastest-growing group in the next five years, as more and more older people start trusting their own technological skills, as well as their bank's mobile app security.
All of this may be why branch visits have been dropping, with a decrease of 5-10% (as reported by the big brands) seen over the last year. All in all, a total of 33 million people are expected to visit a branch this year, with 31 million expected to do so in 2023 – a modest decline and suggesting that the number of branch visitors is somewhat stable.
There's also a continuing change in how often people visit banks, with an average three visits this year down from the seven visits recorded five years ago. The report suggests that banks would do well to adapt with their customers. While it estimates that 'only' 700 branches are necessary to cover 80% of banking opportunities, there are products such as mortgages and investments that people still much prefer to arrange in person.
In an ideal world, customers have all possible means of banking available to them in a convenient manner. If you're near one of the bank branches that has closed, however, you may now feel your options are shrinking. You might want to give mobile (and/or internet) banking a try – or even switch to one of our top online bank accounts. Alternatively, you could look around to see which banks are still in your area, and see if they're offering a Best Buy deal that suits your banking needs.
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.