FICO Survey: 71% of Americans Willing to Open a Bank Account Digitally

With the pandemic continue to shape how Americans interact with various institutions, it looks as though Americans are more willing to embrace digital solutions for financial services. According to a recent survey by FICO, 71% of U.S. consumers say they’d be willing to open a bank account digitally — via either a website or mobile app. Interestingly, younger adults were more likely to prefer other methods to digital options. Of those respondents aged 18 to 24, 29% reported that they’d prefer opening an account by making a phone call or using the mail.

Meanwhile, just 6% of those over 65 stated a preference for opening accounts with a phone call and just 1% opted for the mail-in method. Furthermore, 49% of respondents under the age of 25 said they’d feel comfortable downloading a financial institution’s app to open an account compared to 54% of those over 65 who said the same.

As for other types of accounts, respondents’ willingness to open one digitally depended on what exactly the account was for. With a positive response of 71%, credit card accounts topped the list of accounts those surveyed were interested in opening digitally, followed by cell phone billing (64%) and deposit/checking accounts (62%). On the other end, respondents were far less comfortable opening certain types of financial accounts digitally, including “buy now, pay later” (23%), personal loans (24%), and mortgage accounts (24%).

Despite a willingness to open accounts digitally, it seems that consumers also have a limit to how many questions they’ll answer before abandoning the onboarding process. FICO found that half of those surveyed said they’d give up on the process if they needed to answer for than 10 questions. In the case of mortgage applications, however, nearly one-fifth (18%) of respondents said they’d expect to answer 20 or more questions. As for what consumers anticipate in terms of security and verification, 62% said they expect to have to confirm their identity when opening an account digitally and 54% reported feeling confident when using their devices to scan necessary documents such as driver’s licenses and passports.

Commenting on the survey’s findings and what institutions can learn from them, FICO chief marketing officer Nikhil Behl said, “Digital account opening services are now ‘table stakes’ for financial institutions to attract new customers or build more robust offerings for existing ones. The focus really should be on providing an engaging, educational, and adaptive customer experience.” Behl continued, “Customers want to master their financial lives and banks can help them do that by anticipating their needs and meeting them where they are with the kind of information and services they’re looking for.”

FICO’s findings may help explain why the FinTech sector has seen a record-breaking year so far. While some consumers may have been skeptical about such services in the past, it appears that familiarity with major FinTechs like Square, SoFi, and others is helping to build trust. That said, it is interesting to see that younger adults may not be quite as on board with digital financial services as some older adults are — perhaps indicating that the increasingly popular teen and Gen Z banking sector still has plenty of room to grow. In any case, we can expect that adoption of digital will continue to expand in banking and other financial services.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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