Online banking has become more widespread among consumers, survey finds

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An overwhelming number of people prefer it to going to a branch

A new survey from Provident Bank might help explain why bank branches are disappearing. Consumers have gotten into the habit of doing their banking digitally, and they strongly prefer it.

Only 20 percent of the consumers in the survey said they would rather visit a bank location than do their business using digital channels. That means banks must find the right balance between convenient physical locations and easy-to-use digital platforms.

For the most part, consumers appear satisfied with their current financial institutions' digital banking offerings. When asked if their bank or credit union’s online services meet their needs, 66 percent of respondents said that they did. 

In fact, banks’ online services are proving to be an effective customer retention tool, with 82 percent of bank customers mentioning their financial institution’s online and mobile platforms as a major reason they haven’t switched banks.

As for the security of digital transactions, 95 percent said they sleep well at night because they’re confident that their bank can protect their data in online and mobile banking platforms.

Banks seek customers’ help in promoting security

It helps promote confidence when financial institutions take a proactive approach and keep their customers informed about their investments in security. First Bank & Trust Company, a community bank serving markets in Virginia and Tennessee, recently reached out to customers in an effort to help them keep their online accounts secure.

"The internet has become one of the most popular tools used to commit fraud and criminals are becoming more and more sophisticated with their hacking techniques," said Deborah Goodenough, the bank’s security officer. "As a result, customers must take the necessary precautions online, especially when using sensitive personal data such as bank account information." 

The bank is urging its customers to enable two-factor authentication, disable automatic login, and, when possible, only use their bank’s mobile apps. And when you download these apps, make sure you get them from a reputable source, the bank advises.

Younger consumers tend to use mobile banking more than their older peers. About 30 percent of consumers in the Provident Bank survey said they use mobile payment services like Apple Pay and Venmo at least once a week. However, only 12 percent of those over the age of 54 do the same.

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