Despite an exodus to digital banking in recent years, 60 percent of Americans still open a checking account the old-fashioned way inside a bank branch, talking to a human, rather than online or using a smartphone, a new survey has found.
The use of branches was strongest among the 65 and over age group (78 percent), and weakest among those age 25-34 (46 percent), according to the study by consulting firm Novantas based in New York City.
Customers weren’t asked why they opted for one method over the other, but other Novantas research suggests several factors, said Matthew Sharp, head of customer knowledge for the company.
In some cases, banks don’t allow people to open checking accounts electronically. Most often, he said, customers try to open an account online or with an app, but it ends up being “such a headache” that they go to a branch.
Another factor is customers not being aware that they can open a checking account digitally, said Andrew Hovet, a director at Novantas.
Because of the “hiccups” some people experience electronically, banks don’t market the feature — fearing that those who have problems will take their business elsewhere, he said.
Although 40 percent of Americans say they prefer opening a checking account digitally, only about 10 percent end up doing it that way, researchers said.
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