One third of Australians are using mobile banking: Roy Morgan

Research by Roy Morgan has found that internet banking growth and satisfaction outstrips other channels such as face-to-face branch interaction and phone banking.

The proportion of Australian bank customers using the internet for their banking needs has grown from 58.6 percent in 2013, to 62.2 percent in 2015, with mobile banking becoming increasingly popular, according to a report by Roy Morgan Research.

Since 2013, the adoption of mobile banking has grown 7.4 percent, at the cost of website internet banking, which despite still being the most prevalent banking channel, has slumped 0.6 percent in the past two years.

Phone banking saw a 3.9 percent decline over the two year period, with only 15 percent of banking customers calling their bank.

32.3 percent of people now visit a branch, in comparison with 35.5 percent in 2013, whilst the use of a personal advisor or banker also declined from 8.4 percent to 6.6 percent this year.

Out of the 50,000 Australians surveyed, Roy Morgan said 90.2 percent of internet bankers -- both mobile and via websites -- were "very" or "fairly" satisfied with this channel, but Roy Morgan found this satisfaction varies between banks.

Suncorp was rated the number one bank in terms of customer satisfaction, with 93.3 percent of users "very" or "fairly" satisfied with the service of the technology-driven bank.

The most popular of the big four banks when it comes to user satisfaction was the Commonwealth Bank, with 92.7 percent of banking customers satisfied with its online services. ING Direct was 0.1 of a percent behind; while Bankwest, Bank of Queensland, National Australia Bank (NAB), and Bendigo Bank all had a customer satisfaction rate of over 90 percent.

St George Bank, which experienced a glitch that resulted in customers unable to access online, mobile, and telephone banking services earlier this month, saw an 88 percent customer satisfaction rate; whilst its parent company, Westpac, slipped 0.1 of a percentage point below St George, coming in 10th in overall internet banking customer satisfaction.

"With the rapid growth in internet banking, it will become more important that satisfaction with this channel will need to be monitored against competitors and with other methods for dealing with banks if this lead is to be sustained," Norman Morris of Roy Morgan Research said.

"A great deal of attention is currently being paid to overall satisfaction and advocacy across the banking industry, but this needs to be expanded to looking at satisfaction at the channel level, as this is likely to impact overall satisfaction."

Last month, NAB launched a new feature on its online internet banking platform, NAB Prosper, which it said will help customers answer financial questions about topics including super and insurance.

NAB executive general manager wealth advice Greg Miller said the bank believes that it is necessary to adapt its offering to meeting the individual needs of its consumers.

"We're continuing to look at ways to evolve our business to meet these changing needs. This evolution will continue to include advisers for those life-stage events where a customer wants to sit down and have a face-to-face discussion with their adviser," he said.

The Westpac Cash Free Report, produced last month, found one in three Australians are already using their smartphones to manage their finances. Westpac said 79 percent of respondents agreed that using their smartphones to make an electronic payment will become a standard; the same number of people also agreed that the ability to pay for an item using an app will become the norm.

"Australian companies need to be innovative and integrate digital solutions into existing offerings or risk being phased out of the market," Westpac head of consumer deposits Elliot Smith said.

"More than four in five (83 per cent) of Australians agree those businesses that do not provide a digital offering will be left behind."

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