Bank of America announced in a recent study that more than 85% of its small business clients are utilizing digital channels, and digital engagement is up overall 15% over last year.
According to the release, nearly 50% of all sales made have been digital, with an almost 300% increase in digital sales for small businesses over pre-2020 levels. The suite of financial management tools offered by Bank of America contributed to the small business growth.
"Similar to consumer clients, business owners are increasingly turning to digital solutions to manage and grow their businesses, and now, 85% of Bank of America small business clients are digitally active," a spokesperson for Bank of America told ZDNet.
The bank offers a wide array of services for small business owners to take advantage of, like its Small Business Resource hub, featuring expert advice for prospective business owners looking to get started, or for current businesses owners looking to grow. There's a Cash Flow Monitor that keeps track of cash, credit, and debit spending for the business, Zelle for Business to make fast, secure payments, Business Credit Score and CashPro Forecasting to help predict and track future cash flows.
In a J.D. Power study measuring small business satisfaction, the data analytics and consumer intelligence company found that more banks and payment processors are starting to offer a larger suite of programs promoting the financial wellness of their clients. The study also found that how transparent banks are and how competent clients feel using the digital channels affects satisfaction.
Paul McAdam, senior director of Banking & Payments Intelligence with J.D. Power, told ZDNet that small business owners who take advantage of these digital resources experience higher levels of satisfaction.
Also: Most small business owners are satisfied with how their banks handled COVID
According to the Bank of America press release, small business clients aren't the only ones utilizing digital tools. 75% of the bank's mid-sized and large corporate clients engaged with digital programs to manage company finances. Bank of America's CashPro app saw $384 billion in payments in 2021, a 119% increase over the previous year.
Overall, the bank added over 2 million digital banking customers in 2021, with over 54 million verified users. There were 16 million active Zelle users in January 2022, including small businesses. In 2021, clients used Zelle to send and receive transactions totaling $231 billion, accounting for 8% of all consumer transactions.
"The trend toward digital has been in motion for several years, and at Bank of America, we have remained focused on the client experience, delivering solutions that make it easy, convenient and safe to manage finances, anytime and anywhere," the company said.
But with the influx of digital consumers comes new challenges. In a recent FICO study, the data analytics company found that 80% of digital consumers will remain so post-pandemic and that many aren't adequately concerned about fraud.
"Keeping client information safe and secure is a top priority, and we continue to provide new tools that empower our clients to protect themselves and their information," Bank of America told ZDNet. The bank has a Security Center where clients can learn how to keep their information safe in a rapidly evolving digital environment.
Additionally, the bank has several programs to support the financial literacy and wellness of its clients. These include the Life Plan program where clients can set financial goals and get tips on how to achieve them, as well as Better Money Habits, which provides educational resources for clients to take advantage of.