U.S. Consumers' Preference for Teller Use Is Declining as Self-Service Banking Use Rises

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Mercator Advisory Group survey finds consumers increasingly prefer mobile check deposits rather than using tellers

One of the 27 exhibits in this report

Consumers want greater convenience and any options to enhance convenience and accessibility to their financial institutions are welcome, as fewer consumers visit the branch for simple transactions.

Mercator Advisory Group’s most recent Insight Report, Self-Service, ATM, and Other Channel Banking: Expand My Options, from the bi-annual CustomerMonitor Survey Series, reveals that U.S. consumers’ preference for depositing checks by teller continues to decline even for higher-value checks. Although tellers remain the preferred method for a $1,000 check deposit (57% of the respondents in the 2015 survey summarized in the report), this preference has declined steadily from a four-year high of 68% in 2012. Tellers are the only method of check deposit preferred by more consumers for larger check values than for smaller values, suggesting greater trust in in-person deposit.

The survey finds the fastest-growing check deposit method is mobile remote deposit, in which consumers transmit a photo of the check via smartphone, preferred by 21% of respondents for $1,000 checks and 19% for $50 checks, a preference steadily rising from four-year lows of 11% and 9% respectively in 2012. Yet, more young adults prefer to deposit higher-value checks by ATM (25%, up from 22% in 2014) than to use remote deposit capture (23% in 2015 and 24% in 2014), as young adults rely more on self-service channels for any size check deposit. Young adults, however, are more likely to prefer to deposit a $50 check by remote deposit than with a teller or an ATM.

As self-service banking technology advances, becoming easier to use and offering greater functionality, consumers begin to prefer the convenience of self-service channels to conduct basic banking transactions rather than going to the branch to have a teller perform them.

Responses from an expanded sample of 3,000 U.S. adults were collected in the annual online Banking and Channels survey, conducted in November 2015 and are summarized and analyzed in Self-Service, ATM, and Other Channel Banking: Expand My Options in this latest report from Mercator Advisory Group’s Primary Data Service.

The study highlights consumers’ rising use and interest in a wider variety of self-service and ATM channels, especially the young adults and highly mobile consumers. It examines the demographic shift, changing preferences, and use of self-service channels compared to traditional branch banking and identifies trends in consumer methods of communicating with their bank and frequency of contact, methods, and preferences for getting cash and depositing checks; changes in use of cash and checks; use of ATMs by type and location; willingness to pay surcharges for convenience; importance of ATM characteristics in new bank selection; interest in using mobile cash access, self-service kiosks, and videoconferencing for discussions with banking specialists and separately for conducting bank transactions.

“Consumers want greater convenience and any options to enhance convenience and accessibility to their financial institutions are welcome, as fewer consumers visit the branch for simple transactions,” states Karen Augustine, manager of Primary Data Services including the CustomerMonitor Survey Series at Mercator Advisory Group and author of the report.

Highlights of this report include:

  • Year-over-year trending of U.S. adult consumer use of self-service banking channels and frequency of use by each method
  • Frequency and use of ATM deposits, envelope vs. no-envelope, cash vs. checks
  • Demographics of preferred methods of depositing high- and low-value checks
  • Shifts in methods of getting cash and depositing checks
  • Change in use of cash and checks during the previous year
  • Frequency of ATM use and types of ATMs used
  • Importance of ATM features and functionality in new bank selection
  • Importance of enhanced functionality such as prepaid card loading, payment services, and coupons and rewards offered at the ATM
  • Trends in use of and interest in in-branch videoconferencing with product specialists or teller-assisted videoconferencing for conducting transactions

The report is 64 pages long and contains 27 exhibits

Members of Mercator Advisory Group CustomerMonitor Survey Series Service have access to this report as well as the upcoming research for the year ahead, presentations, analyst access and other membership benefits.
Please visit us online at http://www.mercatoradvisorygroup.com.

For more information and media inquiries, please call Mercator Advisory Group's main line: (781) 419-1700 or send email to info(at)mercatoradvisorygroup.com.

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About Mercator Advisory Group
Mercator Advisory Group is the leading independent research and advisory services firm exclusively focused on the payments and banking industries. We deliver pragmatic and timely research and advice designed to help our clients uncover the most lucrative opportunities to maximize revenue growth and contain costs. Our clients range from the world's largest payment issuers, acquirers, processors, merchants and associations to leading technology providers and investors. Mercator Advisory Group is also the publisher of the online payments and banking news and information portal PaymentsJournal.com.

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Karen Yetter
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