Financial Services Ireland

Digitally savvy Irish consumers forcing banks to compete for online wallet share

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Media Release

EY Global Consumer Banking Survey 2016

  • Adoption and usage of digital banking continues to grow
  • Consumers willing to switch providers if digital banking services don’t meet their needs
  • Digital and online services still not replacing traditional “in person” banking
  • New revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) set to be a game changer for Irish banks

Dublin, 7th OCTOBER 2016: Ireland has one of the highest rates of adoption and usage of digital banking services in Western Europe, however while Irish consumers are willing to drop providers that can’t deliver the digital services they want, banks who can offer advice in person or over the phone are still in high demand, according to a new survey published by EY Ireland.

The EY 2016 Global Consumer Banking Survey involved over 55,000 interviews globally and was conducted amongst 13 countries within Western Europe. In Ireland, a nationally representative sample of 1,030 people who bank online were surveyed. The research found that more than two in five (41%) consumers use online banking more than they did 12 months ago, while just under a third (32%) said they use mobile banking more. Consumers also stated that they visit a bank branch and also call their bank significantly less than they did 12 months ago, with both forms of contact seeing a 41% and 36% decrease respectively.

However in contradiction to these findings, consumers stated that they still highly value human contact and a physical branch, with 47% of respondents saying that they don’t trust a financial organisation that doesn’t have any branches at all. While a further two out of three (59%) people said that while they’re happy to research products and transact online, they need to be able to visit a branch or talk to someone over the phone at key times in their lives, such as when they want advice or to avail of a new product.

Over half (54%) of consumers also said that it’s important they’re able to speak to someone at their bank 24 hours a day, 7 days a week either over the phone or in person.

Commenting on the study, FS Advisory Partner at EY Colin Ryan said: “Our research shows that while consumers value the ability to tailor and control their banking experience by using digital channels, there is still high demand for human contact and the presence of a physical branch. The challenge for financial services providers is therefore how they can deliver cutting-edge digital and online services to enable their customers, whilst at the same time ensuring they have the expertise on the ground to advise or support them in person at the right time.”

Increasing customer demands

Consumer sentiment has also fundamentally changed, with customers demanding more from their banks, with two in five people surveyed (42%) saying that they wouldn’t hesitate to change provider if they found one with a better online or digital offering, compared to a European average of 32%.
In the same vein, 25% of respondents said that Irish banks are falling behind when it comes to providing easy-to-use digital solutions.

These trends are of particular significance following the introduction of the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2), which all EU member states must implement by January 2018, and will enable consumers and businesses to use third party providers to view all of their accounts in one portal, giving them far greater choice in how they manage their finances.

Colin explained, “PSD2 will be a game changer for retail banks, who will see the links to their customers further eroded by the use of third party providers and the introduction of a huge amount of choice. Ireland’s banking sector is unique in that approximately 4-5 key players service the majority of the population, therefore the advent of PSD2 will challenge the banks to not only ensure they are compliant in the next 14 months, but also to figure out how they can leverage this change by developing their own financial management solution and compete with everyone else who will be looking for their piece of the pie.”

Other notable findings from the survey include:

• Loyalty to a single banking institution is no longer commonplace in Ireland, with over half (55%) of people saying they have an account with three or more financial services providers.
• 45% of consumers said one of the hardest things about having accounts across different banks is getting a consolidated view of their finances.
• 57% of consumers surveyed said that more attractive rates or fees would be the most important factor in making them move from a traditional provider to an online or mobile non-bank provider, followed by ease in setting up an account (42%) and better online experience and functionality (35%).
• 80% of Irish consumers have moderate or complete trust in their primary financial services provider, up from 67% in 2014 (a 19% increase).
• The rise of Fintechs forcing banks to understand how different types of customers define convenience.

The EY 2016 Global Consumer Banking Survey was conducted amongst over 55,000 respondents across 32 countries who use online banking services. In Ireland, a nationally representative sample of 1,030 people were surveyed.


For further information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Pia Phelan
Communications Manager, EY
Mob: +353 87 932 7702