Traditional Retail Banks Still Highly Popular with Consumers, According to Market Force Study

Share Article

Nationwide study reveals that Chase and U.S. Bank are consumers’ favorite national banks, 65% of people have downloaded their bank's mobile app and digital wallet adoption is still nominal

banking chase wells fargo U.S. Bank bank of america pnc bank finance

Graph 2 – Favorite National Retail Banks, Based on Satisfaction

Our research underscores how critical the advisor role is in retail banking – not just because banks need to sell their product portfolio, but also because it’s an opportunity for them to gain a competitive advantage in customer loyalty

Findings from a national retail banking study by Market Force Information, a worldwide leader in customer intelligence solutions, suggest that online banking is unlikely to displace traditional retail banking anytime soon. The study found that most Americans still regularly visit their primary banks to interact with tellers and advisors, and also frequently contact their banks’ call centers. It also revealed that Chase and U.S. Bank are consumers’ favorite national banks, and that PayPal is currently the most popular digital wallet provider.

More than 3,700 consumers nationwide were polled for the study in September 2014, which was designed to uncover consumers’ favorite national bank chains, trends in mobile banking and digital wallets, and factors that drive customer satisfaction and loyalty.

High-touch Fosters Loyalty in Banking
Despite the rise in popularity of online and e-banking, consumers continue to value the face-to-face transactions and interactions at a physical bank branch. The study found that 72% of retail bank customers had conducted a transaction with a teller in the previous 90 days – 21% walked into a bank to consult with an advisor and 27% contacted their bank’s call center. [See Graph 1]. An identical study conducted by Market Force in the UK found that much fewer – just 57% – had made a teller transaction, while just slightly fewer had consulted with an advisor (18%) and contacted a call center (25%).

Market Force also uncovered a discernible link between consulting with an advisor and customer satisfaction. Of those who spoke with an advisor in the previous 90 days, 57% were likely to recommend their bank to others, compared with just 47% of those who did not speak with an advisor.

“Our research underscores how critical the advisor role is in retail banking – not just because banks need to sell their product portfolio, but also because it’s an opportunity for them to gain a competitive advantage in customer loyalty,” said Cheryl Flink, Chief Strategy Officer for Market Force. “We found that 17% of those who consulted with an advisor had a less than great experience, which tells me that many banks could be doing a better job of focusing on consumers’ financial well-being with superior advisory services.”

Chase, U.S. Bank Named Consumers’ Favorites
Market Force also looked at which banks stand out as consumers’ favorites. Out of the five most frequented national banks, Chase and U.S. Bank ranked first and second, followed by PNC Bank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America. [See Graph 3]. For the rankings, Market Force asked participants to rate their satisfaction with their primary bank and their likelihood to refer that bank to others. The results were averaged to attain a Composite Loyalty Score.

What sets Chase and U.S. bank apart? The two banks scored first and second in nearly all of the attributes that matter most to their customers, including financial stability, ease of doing business and transparency. PNC Bank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in these categories.

Mobile Banking Entering Mainstream
Many financial institutions see a huge opportunity to add to their bottom line through mobile banking, particularly given that mobile deposits can save them up to $50 a year per customer. In the Market Force research, 80% of consumers said their primary bank offers a mobile banking app and, of those, 65% said they have downloaded it. [See Graph 3]. Interestingly, this is slightly higher than the UK where just 63% report having downloaded their bank’s mobile app.

The primary ways consumers in the United States are using their bank’s mobile app are to check their balances (84%), check their statements (62%), transfer funds (57%), deposit funds (54%), use the quick-check balance feature (43%), pay bills (40%) and find an ATM or branch (35%). Very few tap into the app for activities such as paying others or setting up direct debits. It is a different story in the UK, where larger percentages use their mobile apps for these two purposes, and much fewer to deposit funds or find ATMs or branches.

In the United States, 46% of those who have not downloaded their bank’s mobile app said they do not see the benefits of using their phone for banking, 36% are concerned about the security of their information and 10% question its ease-of-use. These figures were similar in the UK.

What’s Trending in Digital Wallets?
While the recent launch of ApplePay has put a spotlight on digital wallets, Market Force found the adoption in September (prior to ApplePay’s launch) was still fairly low, with only 7% reporting that they use digital wallets – 45% of those are female and 55% are male. Penetration is highest among the 25–44 year-old demographic, but not by much. In fact, Market Force found that 20% of those using digital wallets are between 45–54 years old, and 22% are over 55 years old. [See Graph 4].

Awareness seems to be the biggest barrier to adoption of digital wallets. When asked why they are not using digital wallets, three out of five said it is because they are not familiar with them. Other prevailing reasons given were that they provide no benefit beyond current payment channels, concerns about security and concerns about personal data. Difficulty was cited by only 2% of those polled.

PayPal Most Used Digital Wallet
At the time of the study, PayPal was clearly the most popular digital wallet provider. It claimed 60% of market share, with Google Wallet earning 43%, Apple Passbook with 17% and City Wallet by Citibank with 2%. [See Graph 5].

Survey Demographics
The survey was conducted online in September 2014 across the United States. The pool of 3,733 respondents represented a cross-section of the four U.S. census regions, and reflected a broad spectrum of income levels, with 46% reporting household incomes between $25,000 and $75,000 a year. Respondents’ ages ranged from 19 to over 65. Approximately 58% were women and 42% were men. Three quarters are employed at least part time.

Follow Market Force’s Retail Banking LinkedIn page for the latest insights, timely discussions, commentary and industry news.

About Market Force Information
Market Force is the leading global customer intelligence solutions company for multi-location businesses, including major retailers, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, financial institutions, entertainment studios and consumer packaged goods companies. Market Force has pioneered the industry with a suite of customer intelligence solutions that enable multi-location business to manage operational excellence and customer loyalty. Proprietary decision-support tools comprise a platform of data collection techniques including mystery shopping, customer surveys and contact center; analytics algorithms for predicting growth in loyalty and financial metrics; and a technology platform for integrating multiple data streams. Market Force solutions enable brands to identify the actions required at the store level to increase customer loyalty and improve financial performance. For more information, visit

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Sarah Sparks
GroundFloor Media
+1 (303) 362-1458
Email >

Rebecca Scanlan
GroundFloor Media
Email >
Visit website