A survey conducted by Compass Plus, an international provider of retail banking and electronic payments software to processors and financial institutions, has revealed that the move towards a cashless and branchless society is unlikely to become a reality in the near future.
The annual survey, which asked more than 100 UK residents about their banking and payments habits, found that the majority of respondents had made cash withdrawals from ATMs in the previous month (90%). This was significantly higher than any other banking and payment service used, with the second and third most utilised services; paying with a bank card on the high street and paying with a bank card on the Internet achieving 70% and 62% respectively. Whilst these results reflect the findings of the 2013 consumer survey, in terms of the top three most popular services, the gap between cash and cards has tripled in size. This could be due to the fact that four in five respondents think the most secure method of payment is cash (79%), a surprising and substantial increase of 22% from 2013.
Internet banking is still viewed as the most popular banking channel with 45% of respondents citing it as their preferred method, however it has taken a significant dip in popularity, down 30% compared to the 2013 study (75%). The survey instead indicated an increased preference for branch banking, which saw an increase by half, with 34% of participants stating that this channel still remained their main method of banking. With discussions around cashless and branchless societies prevalent in the industry today it is interesting to see an increased use of both cash and branches in 2014 when both are viewed by the industry as verging on defunct.
In line with industry expectations, the gradual move towards mobile continues. The preference for mobile banking, whilst still low, has nearly doubled in size compared to 2013 from 7% to 13% with the majority of respondents revealing that it could become their main banking channel in the future.
The 2013 consumer survey found industry expectations around the mass adoption of contactless payments to be overambitious, with the industry believing it would take place between one and three years, but with less than one in 10 respondents having made a purchase using their contactless card in the previous month. Whilst this figure has nearly doubled in 2014 from 9% to 16%, more than half of the public interviewed revealed they still are unaware of what contactless payments are.
“We carry out annual industry and consumer surveys to enable us to track public opinion against industry expectations and see where the differences lie,” commented Maria Nottingham, Chief Marketing Officer at Compass Plus. “With industry hype around mobile and alternative payments, it is interesting to note the shift back towards traditional payments and banking channels. The survey shows that many respondents do not view newer technologies such as contactless cards and mobile payments as secure ways to pay. This could indicate a trust challenge on the horizon for financial institutions.”