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Mobile phone apps become the UK’s number one way to bank

Banking by smartphone and tablet has become the leading way customers manage their finances, as mobile banking overtakes branches and the internet as the most popular way to bank.

New research from CACI for the BBA shows that customers will use mobile devices to check their current accounts 895 million times in 2015, more than the 427 million branch interactions. By 2020 they are forecasting that customers will use their mobile to manage their current account 2.3 billion times – more than internet, branch and telephone banking put together.

These findings are published alongside the second edition of the Way We Bank Now, a joint report by the BBA and EY, which reveals that UK customers have downloaded banking apps on 22.9 million occasions by the end of March this year – a rise of 8.2 million in just one year.

Customers moved £2.9 billion a week using banking apps in 2015 – up from £2 billion in 2014.

The Way We Bank Now report also reveals that by March of this year there were:

  • 9.6 million – log-ins to internet banking a day – a 10% increase on a year before
  • 1.3 million – text message alerts sent by banks to their customers each day
  • 43% – decline in telephone instructions by customers to their bank between 2008 and 2013
  • 6% – decline in branch transactions across all banks in 2014

Anthony Browne, Chief Executive of the BBA, said:

"Technology is changing our lives and banking is no different – it is now easier than ever for us to check our balances, pay our friends and manage our money. The rapid take up of apps and mobile banking appears to be a real game changer for the British public.

"Our report shows that there is much to look forward to. Biometric security features will allow us to get hold of our money faster and without going through the rigmarole of passwords and PIN codes. The possibilities of using data analytics to give customers greater insight into how they spend their money and the best offers, services or products is very exciting too.

"It is vital that the government invests more in 4G and high-speed broadband to ensure that as many people as possible can be included in the revolution that is sweeping through banking."

David Ebstein, Head of Digital for Financial Services at EY, comments:

"The British public is voting with its thumbs. Being mobile-enabled is a must, not a maybe, and banks that don't engage properly with mobile channels risk losing relevance in customer's lives. The next frontier of innovation will be delivering an exceptional customer experience through mobile, across products and services, and going beyond banking.

"The mass migration to mobile banking is an opportunity for banks to better engage with customers and regain trust customer by customer. Competition is intensifying, and successfully joining the dots between mobile, internet and branch banking could make the difference between winning and losing customers."


For more information contact the BBA Press Office on 020 7216 8989 or Sarah Tavakoli at EY on 020 7951 9882.

The next instalment of the BBA EY Way We Bank Now work, called a World of Change, explores the major banking technologies introduced in the UK over past year and looks at other successful financial innovations introduced overseas, including cheque imaging technology, augmented reality and sophisticated data tools that give customers and businesses greater insight into their finances.

The report also features interviews with many of the leading digital experts across the banking industry and reveals their thoughts about what might be the next innovations available to British customers.

Notes to editors:

1. CACI's analysis and forecasts of how customers interact with their banks

i) Current account interactions


2. Innovation across an industry

Total number of banking apps downloaded to dateN/A14.722.9
Amount transferred by app per week (£s)2,0672,927
Mobile log-ins per week9.118.673.8
Internet banking log-ins per week45.160.966.9
SMS alerts per weekN/A9.19.4
Telephone banking use per week4.44.34.2
Branch transactions per week12.711.9N/A


This year's Way We Bank Now report, titled World of Change, has had contributions from many banks across the BBA's membership, who have submitted views and statistics on the way British public spend, move and manage their money is changing.

Examples featured in the report include:

  • 4.9 million – the number of log-ins to the RBS and NatWest banking apps on 28 November 2014… the most on any day so far.
  • 2.7 million – Lloyds Bank customers using mobile banking.
  • 1,980 – Logins a minute to Barclays' bank app.
  • £400 million – to be spent on RBS and NatWest branch refurbishments this year, with 16 per week expected at the programme's peak.
  • 450,000 – Logins a week to Tesco Bank's app.
  • 2% – of payments and transfers by HSBC customers are now done in a branch
  • 3,200 – the number of people who have used the Nationwide Now video service so far.
  • 91% – percentage of NatWest and RBS customers registered for internet banking.
  • 65% – the proportion of all online banking by Halifax now taking place on mobile phones.

3. World of Change

This report also highlights popular forms of consumer friendly technology that has been adopted in other countries. These include:

  • Menega's Personal Finance Management system in Iceland, which gives customers more insight into how they are spending their money.
  • West Pac New Zealand's use of augmented reality.
  • Cheque imaging technology in the United States.
  • The fast rise of mobile payments in Sweden.
  • The high take-up of mobile phone banking in Africa.
  • New types of bank branches being piloted in Asia.

4. The Way We Will Bank in the Future

World of Change also explores what the next generation of retail banking could look like, featuring interviews with the banks' senior digital experts who discuss topics such as data analytics, partnerships with technology companies, wearable technology and biometric security features.

5. Access for all

The BBA is urging ministers to invest more heavily in 3G, 4G and high speed broadband to allow more and more customers to take advantage of mobile and internet banking.

According to CACI's research for the BBA:

Of the 49.4 million adults living within Great Britain, 1.1% have poor internet access*

This equates to 530,000 adults with limited internet speed, of which 330,000 say they would be willing to bank online

These 530,000 adults have:

  • Average download speeds of 1.4Mbit/s – 15 times slower than average.
  • Superfast broadband is available to just 3% of these people, but uptake is low.
  • Mobile provides an alternative for 470,000 of the 530,000 people (88%).
  • However, 63,000 people in parts of Wales and Scotland, and small pockets of England, still have no acceptable digital access at all (63,000 adults in total).

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