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On the rise: more consumers adopting digital tools to open accounts and manage loans

Every day, to a larger and larger portion of consumers, the pre-digital era of account opening becomes smaller in the rearview mirror. Among the growing millennial and Generation Z consumer demographics, the idea of visiting a physical location to open a financial service account might almost sound vintage.

But just how many consumers are we talking about? To find out more about what’s driving people to establish and maintain the financial foundations of their day-to-day digital lives, Finicity teamed up with PYMNTS to publish Account Opening and Loan Servicing in the Digital Environment

Drawn from a survey of over 2,300 U.S. consumers in December 2021, this report illustrates the rising number of consumers opening accounts digitally, their levels of comfort in managing their finances on a screen and the distinct role that digital plays between account types.

Account Opening

The numbers show that consumers are rapidly adopting online banking services in lieu of taking trips to brick-and-mortar branches. About 151 million adults in the U.S. opened a new financial account in the past 12 months, and more than three-quarters of them did so digitally. 

Banking has gone mobile in a big way as well. More consumers than ever are opting to bank from anywhere: according to prior PYMNTS research, 69% of all consumers opt to bank from their couch, the sidewalk, restaurants—wherever they feel like it—with their financial institutions’ mobile applications. Within the past year, 76% of all new financial accounts were opened via digital means.

Additionally, almost eight-in-ten Gen-Z consumers reported feeling “very” or “extremely” comfortable opening a financial account with a mobile app. That’s an entire generational cohort for whom mobile banking is simply the norm.

A significant portion of consumers—36%—said that they believed opening an account digitally was more secure than through traditional means, and younger cohorts were most likely to say that they felt more secure providing financial data such as proof of income and employment via open-banking channels.

Loan Servicing

Loan servicing is going digital as well. Most consumers have at least one outstanding loan account open, and most of them also manage those loans digitally whether on a desktop or mobile environment.

A large generational divide exists in our data regarding loan management—older consumers form a larger portion of those with loans to manage, and older consumers also express less comfort with digital finances overall. Concerns with data security are the top reason consumers gave as to why they wouldn’t elect to manage a loan digitally. 

On the flip side, the portion of consumers who are “more” or “much more” likely to use a digital financial account to manage loans grew 54% over the past two years, and consumers indicate that they feel much more comfortable with the idea of opening a new account online.

Consumers also indicate an interest in one of the main benefits of open banking—convenience. Half of consumers say that they’d be more likely to open a new account if the required financial information—income and employment verification, for example—were automatically transferred as part of the process. Verification takes time and labor, and open finance solutions allow both consumers and lenders to skip mountains of paperwork at account opening.

Learn More

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s been clear for a long time that the future of financial management is digital. PYMNTS and Finicity have brought you the data showing just how quickly things are accelerating in the space. To learn more, download Account Opening and Loan Servicing in the Digital Environment today.