Consumers rely on their financial institutions for multiple reasons and seek multiple channels to access account information and conduct their business. Technology is drastically impacting how consumers manage their finances and their time, and service delivery options are morphing right along with consumer preferences.
In a time when smartphones are becoming more and more integral to consumers’ daily lives, financial institutions are increasingly using mobile devices to provide services to their customers. About 45 percent of consumers who participated in a 2016 end-of-year survey by Georgia Credit Union Affiliates reported they rarely visit branches in person. They carry their branch in-hand on their mobile phones, taking advantage of what mobile banking has to offer. And 64 percent of those surveyed said they mainly depend on their financial institution for checking, depositing, and withdrawing cash, which can now be done easily on mobile devices.
That is not to say people are foregoing in-person banking. Half of the survey’s respondents said they regularly visit a branch of their financial institution one to four times a month.
In a 2016 study conducted by the Federal Reserve, 53 percent of all smartphone users with an account at a financial institution have used mobile banking within the 12 months leading up to the survey. For consumers who’ve made the switch to online or mobile banking, the most common reason is convenience.
No matter how consumers interact with a financial institution, the service offerings yielded generally positive responses from GCUA’s survey participants, with 58 percent saying they were satisfied with that relationship.
“In the banking industry, every consumer defines convenience based on their own habits, so from a financial provider perspective, you need to offer solutions that are the most convenient tool at that time – and that’s always changing,” said Tom Maiellaro, VP of Marketing at Associated Credit Union.
Maiellaro said technological advances are synonymous with the financial industry, so when a new online or mobile trend is on the horizon, credit unions like Associated are busy trying to keep abreast of the market and meet their members’ needs with convenient tools and services.
“We look at our monthly login data to see if there’s a trend in how members are accessing Associated to do things like pay a bill or apply for a loan,” Maiellaro explained. “We are using mobile technology to help jumpstart the loan process … and updating our mobile app and P2P (peer to peer lending) functions. It’s a continual process, but credit unions are always looking to improve their members’ experience, and stay relevant with varying demographics.”
- Download your institution’s smartphone app — More financial institutions have or are developing smartphone apps that enable their customers to bank on the go. As this trend increases, smartphone applications will continue to include more services. Online and mobile interaction also empowers consumers to engage with their financial institutions more frequently.
- Investigate any online financial planning tools — Calculators, budget templates and finance tips are often available from financial institutions. Account-linked tracking and analyzation tools can help clarify spending trends and assist with tax filing or budget forecasting. Some mobile apps also include a financial planning section.
- Sign up for text alerts — Some financial institutions offer to send text alerts when an account’s balance dips below a certain level to help you stay on top of your available funds.
- Utilize online bill pay — Instead of checkbooks, stamps and folders full of invoices and canceled checks, consumers can pay their monthly bills online with a click of a mouse. Most of the time, this service is offered at no charge.
- Visit a branch — Check in with a financial institution about where you are and where you want to be financially. Sit down with a member care representative and find out if there are any products or services you don’t know about that you can take advantage of to meet your financial goals.
- To learn about credit unions in your community and how they can help you afford life, visit A Smarter Choice.
To view video tips associated with this release, click here.