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Research : Tablet banking failing to take off – new research into consumer perceptions of banking channels

Intelligent Environments calls on the financial services sector to improve the tablet banking experience to enable customers to better manage their finances, following its new research.

The financial technology company surveyed UK consumers into their perceptions of and preferences for various banking channels. The findings reveal that of all digital tools, computer or PC banking is still the most popular method with UK banking customers for checking their bank balance, while tablet banking is failing to take off.

86% of respondents said that digital banking is the method they use most to check their bank balance. Of this figure, over half (53%) said a computer or PC is their preferred method of checking their bank balance, while a quarter (25%) said smartphone banking is the method they use the most to check their bank balance.

Tablet banking ranks significantly lower in comparison with only 9% saying tablet banking apps or online banking via a web browser on a tablet is the method they use the most to check their bank balance. Interestingly, this varies by region. Just 2% of respondents in the East Midlands say they prefer tablet banking, rising to 13% in the North West.

Intelligent Environments believes these stats highlight the need for banks to invest in tablet banking capabilities.

Simon Cadbury, Director of Strategy and Innovation at Intelligent Environments, comments: “Just a few years ago, on the back of skyrocketing tablet sales and declining PC sales, it was widely tipped that tablet banking usage would overtake smartphone banking by 2016 and PC banking soon after[1].

However, despite almost two thirds of internet users predicted to be tablet users in 2016[2], digital banking adoption on the tablet hasn’t kept pace, as our research clearly shows. This tell us that banks have yet to optimise the customer experience for tablet banking.

“Providers need to avoid the mistake of making their tablet experience a copy of smartphone banking. They now need to expand their tablet functionality in a way that plays to the devices’ advantages. Their larger screens for example lend themselves to easier reading and navigation than a smartphone. The popularity of the tablet can help drive further adoption of digital banking, in turn helping to drive engagement and loyalty. The FS sector needs to seize this opportunity.”

The research highlights there is an overall positive perception of digital channels, in terms of the benefits they provide:

  • 86% believe digital banking is the quickest method of managing their money
  • A similar amount, 81% believe digital banking channels provide them with the most detailed view of their finances
  • Over half (56%) believe digital tools are the most secure method for managing their money
  • Half (52%) believe digital banking provides them with the most support

The research also reveals that attitudes towards money management differ based on preferred channel for bank balance checking. While three quarters (76%) of those surveyed claim to check their bank balance regularly in order to budget correctly, the frequency at which they actually do so differs based on their preferred platform. 41% of banking customers who primarily use smartphone banking apps say they check their bank balance every day, whereas, 47% of people who prefer to use paper statements only check their balance once a month.

Simon Cadbury adds: “Consumers expect a great experience regardless of which device they are banking on. As a result banks need to support these varying preferences and ensure all of their channels are fit for purpose.

“The increasing popularity of digital tools to keep track of finances is also evident, and reaffirms how digital helps to improve the financial well-being of its users, creating happier and more loyal customers.”