ABA: Mobile apps most popular choice for consumer banking

Mobile apps continue to be the most popular choice for consumers when banking, according to a survey commissioned by the American Bankers Association

The report, which included responses from more than 2,200 U.S. adults, found that 45 percent of customers listed apps on phones or other mobile devices as their No. 1 option, the third straight year it has been the most popular option for consumers. Twenty-seven percent preferred online banking on a PC or laptop. Branch banking, which dropped to 10 percent during the pandemic, increased to 14 percent as the use of ATMs and telephone calls fell.   

There was a generational divide in customer preferences: More than half of Generation Z, millennials and Generation X said they used mobile banking apps the most. Twenty percent of baby boomers visited bank branches the most often, compared to only six percent of Gen Z.  

The report aligns with the FDIC’s 2021 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, which found that mobile banking sharply increased between 2017-21, from 15 percent to 43 percent, and became the most prevalent main way customers access their accounts. 

Brooke Ybarra, ABA senior vice president of innovation strategy, said despite the fall of in-person banking, branch visits continue to play an important role in banking. 

“As mobile banking capabilities have evolved exponentially over the past decade thanks to bank investments in technology, we’ve seen many consumers become more comfortable embracing their phones and tablets to make everyday transactions,” she said. “When the pandemic made in-person interactions more difficult, even more people leveraged the easy-to-use technology at their fingertips to deposit checks, pay bills or send money to friends, and they haven’t looked back.”