- Digital banking has become more popular during the lockdown: almost 30% have downloaded a mobile banking app and over 40% of digital banking users have used it more than they did before the lockdown
- Over one in three digital banking users say they have become more confident using it since lockdown began
- 83% intend to use digital banking the same or more frequently post-lockdown
- Almost half say they plan to use branches/face-to-face banking less or not at all after lockdown
The COVID-19 lockdown is helping to accelerate take-up of digital banking services amongst consumers, with many feeling more confident about using online and mobile channels, shows new research from Virgin Money.
The research1 shows that almost three in 10 people (28%) have downloaded a mobile banking app since lockdown began. In addition, just over four in 10 (41%) digital banking users have been using it more often during lockdown than they did before it began.
Avoiding using a branch during lockdown is the most common reason for using digital banking more frequently (40%). The need to check transactions as a result of increased online shopping (36%), as well as the need to keep a closer eye on their bank accounts due to concerns about money (35%), are also key reasons driving people towards the ease and convenience of digital banking.
Over one in three (36%) who have used digital banking say they are now more confident using it since lockdown began. Those aged 25-34 have seen the biggest increase, with 50% saying they are now more confident in using digital banking.
This increased confidence is reflected in how people plan to use digital banking going forward. 83% of people plan to carry on using digital banking as they have done during lockdown or to use it more frequently. The figure is even higher among the older generation, with 87% of 55-64 year olds intending to maintain higher usage of digital banking or increase it post-lockdown.
The research shows that almost half (47%) plan to either use branches/face to face banking less post-lockdown than they did pre-lockdown, or not to use them at all. This figure is highest for 55-64 year olds, with 54% intending to reduce or avoid branch usage completely after lockdown has ended.
Paul Titterton, Head of Personal Distribution for Virgin Money said: “Many people have embraced digital banking as a way to safely and easily manage their money during lockdown. Having now got familiar with it and seen the benefits, many intend to carry on using it in the future. We have seen this first hand with our own customers, with our digital adoption rate for current account customers in April showing the largest monthly increase we have ever seen and average daily mobile app logins increasing by almost 10%.
“Digital services and remote access have become necessities for many during the pandemic, significantly accelerating the pace of digital adoption. More than ever, customers are realising the benefits online and mobile channels offer – in terms of quick and easy access to finances and useful money management tools.
“We also know there are still times when a conversation really matters which is why we believe strongly in a full-service offering, so customers can deal with us in a way that suits them.“
Checking balances and transactions is the most common use for online and mobile banking (77%), followed by paying bills (57%) and transferring money, either to their own accounts (52%) or to friends and family (50%). Almost half (47%) who have used digital banking, are using it for things now that they didn’t use before lockdown. A fifth (20%) now use online banking to check their balance and transactions which they hadn’t done before lockdown.
Despite the financial impact on many people as a result of COVID-19, the research shows that applying for loans through digital banking is not popular, with just 4% of those who currently use or have ever used digital banking using online banking or their banking app for this.
Virgin Money recognises that while digital channels promote access to banking overall, some people do need additional support using it and access to cash has become more difficult for some people as a result of lockdown. As a result, it has taken steps to ensure support is in place for those customers who need it most.
Paul added: “We have been proactively contacting self-isolating and vulnerable customers to help them use digital banking, as well as offering other services to help them through this difficult period. This includes the option to have cash delivered to them through our travel money service, which now offers sterling, and the Post Office Pay Out Now service as another way to access cash if they are unable to use our normal channels.”