The coronavirus greatly accelerated the adoption of digital banking technology among consumers, and those habits have taken root, according to a survey JPMorgan Chase released Thursday about attitudes surrounding digital banking technology.
In the second quarter of 2021, Chase reported almost 57 million "digitally active customers," an increase of 10% year-over-year, and nearly 43 million customers used the company’s mobile offerings, which also constitutes a 10% increase YoY.
According to Chase’s Q2 2021 earnings call, total digital transactions per customer grew 12% over the past year.
The 2021 digital banking study found that a large chunk of consumers want more from their bank — 41% of respondents desired a more personalized banking experience and wanted their bank to offer financial information to help them save more money.
This demand is particularly stark among younger clients; 79% of Gen Z respondents wished for increased personalization and information. For the study, Chase surveyed 2,005 men and women, ranging in age from 18 to 57 or older, from April 23-26.
Mobile banking is a big draw
Last December, Chase carried out another Digital Banking Attitudes Study, which surveyed 1,500 consumers. Among that group, only half labeled Chase's mobile app a "must have." But in 2021, 89% of respondents used mobile apps to deposit money, including 52% of the baby boomers surveyed. Overall, 91% of men surveyed said they deposited checks through their phones, compared to 87% of women.
The growth in popularity of mobile services may be due in part to the pandemic. In 2020, 13% of customers "cited avoidance of paper money and physical cards as one of their top three reasons for using digital payment tools during the pandemic." And attitudes toward physical cash may have become even more pessimistic over the last year. In April 2021, 13% of respondents stated they would not feel comfortable using cash again, even after the pandemic.
The 2020 study also revealed that in Q3 2020 "more than half of customers [applied] digitally for mortgages, double the level from Q2 2019."
Another catalyst driving growth in mobile banking is that some customers believe mobile services like Chase Autosave help them to improve their saving habits. According to the study, "41% of respondents believe seeing their credit and debit card usage, understanding their cash flow and reviewing their top sending categories would help them adjust their money management habits."
Allison Beer — chief product officer and head of digital at Chase – told Business Insider in December that
enrollment in Autosave increased 77% between November 2019 and 2020.
Digital banking change seen as permanent
The uptick in digital banking may persist long after the pandemic dies down. Many customers have become accustomed to managing their finances entirely online.
Considering the rise of mobile investing platforms like Robinhood and TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim, along with the growing numbers of blockchain wallets, customers expect to control their money from wherever they please.
But as this trend unfolds, legacy banks like JPMorgan Chase will increasingly be forced to compete for customers with smaller, scrappier neobanks and other fintechs in the space. Chime, for example, was downloaded almost 6.4 million times in the first half of 2021, and became the most downloaded digital banking app in that timeframe.
One of the most effective strategies to combat such challenger banks may be to continue improving and innovating mobile banking apps.
According to another survey released by Business Insider this year, almost "80% of Insider Intelligence Mobile Banking survey respondents say mobile is the primary way they access their bank account. A frustration-free digital experience demands superior mobile account management capabilities."