Banking using an app on a mobile phone or tablet is now more popular than using branches, according to new research from Roy Morgan.

The research found 38.8 per cent of Australians used a banking app in an average four-week period, compared with only 28.2 per cent who visited branches.

Consumers are also more satisfied with their digital experiences than their face-to-face interactions. Among the big four banks, 90.7 per cent of users surveyed were satisfied with mobile banking, compared to 84.8 per cent satisfaction with branches.

The findings are from the latest findings from Roy Morgan’s Single Source survey of more than 50,000 people.

“The high satisfaction levels and rapid increase in the use of mobile banking are likely to improve overall satisfaction. While this is a positive trend, the declining satisfaction of the big fours’ branch banking customers is not so rosy. Over one in four bank customers still use branches in an average four-week period: and their satisfaction is also important,” Norman Morris, industry communications director, Roy Morgan Research.

The end result is that satisfaction with branches is now further behind that of mobile banking . Banks need to pay attention on issues such as branch closures and changes to functionality so that they are better aligned with customer needs and expectations.”

With a 93.8 per cent satisfaction rate among its mobile banking customers, the CBA app has the highest satisfaction of the 10 major banks.

Bendigo Bank is a close second with 93.4per cent, followed by ING Direct on 92.7 per cent. The remainder of the big four banks were well below this top group with ANZ on 88.4 per cent, NAB on 88.0 per cent and Westpac on 87.7 per cent.

Satisfaction with branch banking is highest for Bendigo Bank (94 per cent), followed by Bankwest on 90.8 per cent and St George (89.5 per cent). The lowest were Westpac (82.8 per cent) and NAB (85.0 per cent). CBA branch satisfaction is at 85.7 per cent, a long way behind that of its mobile users (93.8 per cent) a gap that has widened over the last 12 months.

Source: Roy Morgan Research

Overall satisfaction with banks was dragged down by unhappy home loan customers. While the big four maintain a close eye on who is the satisfaction leader among them, the mutual banks remain well ahead of all four. The average satisfaction level for the big four in November was 79.5 per cent, compared to the Mutual Bank’s average of 90.1 per cent.

“Despite very low loan and deposit rates that favour borrowers, overall bank customer satisfaction is currently being adversely affected by the fact that only 75.4 per cent of the big four banks’ home-loan customers are satisfied. What’s more, the satisfaction gap between them and other customers (80.5 per cent) is widening. With banks recently announcing ‘out of cycle’ increases in loan rates, borrower satisfaction is expected to decline even further,” said Morris.

“Over the last three years, customer satisfaction with banks has plateaued at a level that is well above the long term average, but it is now showing signs of starting to decline.”

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