With over 300 UK branch closures in total already confirmed by Santander, Lloyds, Halifax, HSBC, NatWest, and Barclays in 2021, new research from NerdWallet has found that three in five (60%) Brits would now consider a bank with no physical branches. Suggesting we might be at a tipping point, 40% claimed that they are prepared to have a digital-only bank as their one and only provider, and an additional 23% said they would want both a digital and conventional bank with branches.
Although the research found that more than one in four (28%) were influenced to select a bank because of convenient access to a branch, over a third (38%) claimed they selected a bank based on convenient access online and almost a quarter (24%) were influenced by the convenience offered through the bank’s app.
“The shift to digital banking is very apparent and this trend is undeniably a contributing factor in bank branch closures. There is also an expectation as everything becomes more digital, for banks and other service providers to evolve to meet the modern needs of the public as well: 24 hour and remote access, immediate transactions, and ongoing budget tracking are just a few benefits online banking provides.
“But we are in a time of transition and there is clearly still a role for physical branches on the banking landscape,” suggests Denise Ko Genovese, a Senior Personal Finance Expert at NerdWallet.
Of those who said they would want both a digital and conventional bank, almost half (49%) said they liked the security of a traditional bank, 43% said they were still not completely confident in new online-only options, and as much as 40% said they still needed the services of a physical bank, including for cash transactions.
Looking ahead, when asked about concerns if all banks were only online in five years’ time, 41% of those surveyed had concerns about some people, like their parents, not having access to banking services, and over half (53%) were concerned about the death of the high street.
The research from the independent price comparison site seems to support the current trend for the ‘digitisation’ of high street services, at a time when many are considering how they might re-integrate after all covid-19 related restrictions are lifted on the 19th July.