Aussies banking in branches down by a third

by 22 Jul 2020

New research has confirmed a decided shift in consumer behaviour off the back of the COVID pandemic, as Australians plan to spend less and save more – and execute such financial decisions online rather than at bank branches.

The data collected by Toluna and Harris Interactive has suggested that even as restrictions lift across much of the country, online banking has continued to gain popularity as ATM usage and branch banking fell over by a third, signalling a longer and more lasting change.

In the last two weeks, 22% of Australians have reported relying on online banking more than in the past, 31% said they’ve spent less time in branches and 34% are using ATMs less frequently than before as virtual payment card usage is on the climb.

However, 55% of respondents communicated confidence in Australia’s traditional banks, while just 37% of the same group felt similarly about online-only banks.

Over 40% of respondents indicated they plan to spend less money overall than they did before COVID-19 given the prevailing uncertainty of the times and the fact that less than 30% of respondents currently feel secure in their employment. Further, 17% are worried about their future employment, 10% are trying to make ends meet on reduced hours and 5% are dealing with unemployment due to recent events. 

The pandemic has also led Australians to generally rethink their finances, as evidenced in the record refinancing activity of late. The survey’s respondents indicated they plan to review their savings (34%), review their investments (16%), review their insurance policies (16%) and research switching banks (11%).

Nearly 25% of respondents are eager to pay off their debts, while 40% want to save more and a further 32% wants to get better at budgeting.

Notably, 15% want to put more money into longer term investments and 11% are looking to seek financial advice.

The Toluna and Harris Interactive COVID-19 Barometer is a bi-weekly index that provides timely insight into COVID perceptions and community responses. The latest research surveyed over 1,000 respondents in Australia