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Research : Britons among world’s least likely to try mobile-only banking

They’re 50% more likely than the global average to prefer going to a branch

Despite the number of mobile-only banks set to launch in the UK this year, Britons are among the least likely in the world to use them.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Britons aren’t likely to use mobile-only banks – those which don’t have a physical location and are serviced entirely via smartphone apps. Only four countries – France, Belgium, Hungary and New Zealand – are less likely than Britons to use these types of banks, according to a global study of 63 countries by Nielsen.

People in India are the most likely to use mobile-only banks (46% say they’re highly likely to do so) followed by Indonesians (37%). Despite the resistance to mobile-only banks among the British public, the 10% who say they’re highly likely to use them “still gives mobile-only banks a potential customer base of around 4.6 million British adults,” according to Stuart Tagg, Nielsen Europe’s financial services leader.

The main reason Britons won’t try mobile-only banking is due to security concerns (cited by 58%), followed by not having a need to do mobile banking (31%). One in five who won’t try it say it’s because they prefer to visit a branch, making Britons 50% more likely than the global average to prefer going into a branch.

“The reality is that mobile-only banking is most likely to take off in developing countries where the majority of the population don’t have bank accounts or easy access to physical branches,” said Tagg. “However, there’s still a good opportunity in Britain, particularly if banks can overcome the general unease about sharing financial information digitally by convincing people that mobile banking is as secure as going into a branch. It’s then that the sheer convenience of mobile banking could make many reconsider.”

Tagg also notes that an “easy-in-theory” win for mobile-only banks is giving higher interest rates, this increases the number of people likely to use them by nearly 2.5 times, “after all, banking is about money.”