8th February 2019

YouGov survey highlights customers’ use of bank branches

In the wake of Santander’s announcement that it was closing 140 UK branches, YouGov research, using brand tracking tool Profiles, highlights branch and online banking usage. It revealed that 17 per cent of Brits still visit a branch monthly.

Compared with this industry figure, only 15 per cent of Santander customers visit their bank at least monthly. This compares with 27 per cent of Barclays’ customers and 25 per cent of Lloyds’ customers who visit their bank at least once a month. Considering Santander customers, 48 per cent open the bank’s smartphone app in an average month. This is some way short of banks such as NatWest, which sees 65 per cent of customers open the app each month.

Unsurprisingly, those who use physical bank branches are mostly older (32 per cent are over 65) and retired (33 per cent). This reluctance to bank digitally isn’t completely due to lack of access however; 93 per cent own a mobile phone and 75 per cent have a laptop.

Of those who visit their branch at least monthly, 60 per cent say they find the pace of new technology overwhelming and 42 per cent say they “don’t understand the decisions made by computers”; 36 per cent feel uncomfortable using online banking, and 52 per cent prefer to use cash when shopping. In fact, aside from online banking 26 per cent never make online purchases.

Commenting on the research, Matt Palframan, Director of Financial Services Research at YouGov said: “Santander is not the first to close physical branches and it won’t be the last; the way people are banking is constantly changing. However, it’s worth remembering there will always be customers who prefer to go into their branch. The question is whether these customers are prepared to travel further or use alternative channels if their local branch closes.”

To read more about how bank branch closures could affect consumers, visit: https://yougov.co.uk/topics/finance/articles-reports/2019/02/04/how-much-will-closure-bank-branches-affect-custome