Five decades of changing banking habits and the rise of mBanking

Last updated: 24 March 2015

Our Generation mBanking series has been illuminating in showing our banking habits have changed. So before we talk about how mBanking is taking off around the globe, let’s have saunter down memory lane.

It seems feels like ATMs have been around for eternity. They were conceived by engineers in Japan, Sweden, and Britain during the early 1960s. Barclays Bank put the first of these into use in Enfield, north London, on 27 June 1967. But it took a fair while for them to become commonplace. In the meantime we got used to queuing in banks to withdraw cash. It’s amazing how established habits can be undone. We now use cash machines without a moment’s thought.

The same could be the case for mobile banking. Online banking is becoming more mature but its younger sibling, mobile banking, is growing up fast. According to our survey, 77% of young people use online services every month. But 62% now use banking via a smartphone or tablet application at least once a month. If you consider that it was only seven years ago that the first truly ‘smart’ phone arrived, you can see this adoption curve is very steep indeed.

Nearly a quarter of Millennials say accessing banking services in this way is ‘essential’; and for a myriad of reasons. Not only is it more convenient, but being able to bank on the move helps customers to maintain better control of their finances (36%). This makes sense, when you consider the benefits of being able to call up your balance as you consider buying a new piece of clothing, gadget or whatever else takes your fancy.

Just as cash machines negate the need to visit the branch during open hours to withdraw money, the Internet is challenging the assumption that we need bank branches on every street corner. Over a quarter (27%) of young people have never visited their branch and only 14% state they prefer doing their banking in person.

With visits to branches declining in popularity, it’s hardly surprising that banks around the world are closing so many (reducing their overheads in the process).  A net total of 1,487 closed in the US last year alone. Just a few months ago, HSBC earmarked 19 more branches for closure, in addition to the 47 shut last year.

Banking is changing before our very eyes. When you consider the maxim – “innovate or die” – it’s heartening to see so many of our youth interacting with their bank via internet of mobile device. The question is; what will be the next dinosaur in the room?