Globally, Trust Remains Higher for Traditional than Digital-Only Banks

April 26, 2022

1 in 4 consumers in 18 countries around the world have received a payment into, or made a transaction from, a digital-only bank account in the past 3 months, according to a recent YouGov report [download page]. Use of digital-only banks ranges from a high of 43% in Indonesia to a low of 15% in the US, which also sits towards the bottom in terms of usage of buy now pay later (BNPL) plans (10% in the prior 2 months).

The adoption figures are lower than seen in recent research from Morning Consult, in which 17% of US adults reported having used a BNPL service during the month of the survey.

Newer financial products and services will need to gain trust from potential customers in order to grow, but results from the study indicate that they still have some ways to go. About two-thirds of respondents (who were ages 18+ in all markets save for 2, where they were 16+) either completely (24%) or somewhat (42%) trust traditional banks, whereas fewer than 4 in 10 completely or somewhat trust digital-only banks (10% and 27%, respectively). Likewise, only slightly more than one-third completely (9%) or somewhat (27%) trust BNPL companies. As for cryptocurrencies, which many US adults are uncertain about, fewer than 1 in 5 show some level of trust.

Not surprisingly, there’s a significant age divide in how trust is apportioned in financial services. Trust in traditional banks tends to increase alongside age, whereas for digital-only banks and BNPL companies it peaks in the 25-34 age group. The youngest adults (18-24) have the most trust in sustainable investments and cryptocurrencies.

Levels of trust also depend on familiarity and usage. For example, 78% of those who have used digital wallets in the past 3 months trust them, compared to 77% of those who have used traditional banks. Trust in BNPL companies is also high among recent users (70%), although users of digital-only banks (60%) and cryptocurrencies (55%) are less convinced.

When choosing a financial company for a new product or service, respondents are most likely to say that the safety and security of their money is important (61%), with low or no fees (58%) and good customer service (57%) following closely as the top 3 factors. Within the US, however, low or no fees are the most important, followed by customer service and then safety and security.

Those safety and security concerns are likely what’s holding back further usage of digital financial services such as digital-only banks, digital wallets, and cryptocurrency. When asked which concerns they have about those services, a leading 43% said there is too much risk from hackers, while 43% also said they worry their identity could be stolen. And in an nod to the customer service element, 4 in 10 said that not being able to easily speak to a person if there’s a problem is a concern for them.

For more data on the future of financial services, download the report here.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of more than 20,000 respondents in 18 markets (18+ in all except for Australia and China, where they were 16+), including more than 2,172 in the US.

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