A recent study, conducted in September 2016, revealed some of the latest trend in consumers’ feelings on technology in their financial lives. The study was composed of just over 2,000 U.S. adults, from age 18 on up. No big surprise here, Millennials and Gen Xers value and want access to the latest in financial technology. However, there is still a lot of desire among all age groups to keep a “steady hand” when it comes to mixing traditional banking and new technology.
Here’s what the study revealed:
- 24% of respondents would prefer limited or no new technology when it comes to dealing with their finances. This group felt strongly about not wanting to take any changes with technology and their money.
- 49% wanted a healthy mix – traditional banking services with the benefits of new technology and services available to them for use.
- 20% said that it was important that they have access to the latest technology and the newest solutions to simplify their financial life. (It should be noted, of those that responded this way, 59% fall into the Millennial and young Gen X age groups.)
- 7% weren’t sure what FinTech was or how it could help them.
What to make of this?
It would be easy to look at these results and continue the belief that more and more people are gravitating toward new technology and the disruption to traditional banking services that it provides. It would also be easy to say that, as younger Millennials (and Gen Z behind them) make up more of the economy, FinTech will continue to rise and traditional banking will largely go away.
Contrary to that position, I feel somewhat opposite about those opinions based on these results. True, FinTech is going to continue to evolve and attempt disruption at a highly traditional service. But, I don’t think that means the end of traditional banking as we know it.
The main reason is this: as FinTech evolves, “traditional” banking will also evolve. It will evolve for the same reason that we find most people make a decision on where to bank based on branch location. For the same reason that branches have not ceased to exist despite advanced ATMs, online banking, mobile banking and online-only banks.
Finances – money – is such an emotional, visceral thing for people. And because of that, not in spite of it, creating a healthy mix of traditional banking services and new technology offerings will be the mix that wins.
I believe that the results of this study are representative of times to come – not a metamorphosis of moving more and more respondents into the 20% category of the study, where consumers place most importance on new technology. Financial technology is no longer a thing of “early adopters”. Most of what is on the market right now has already moved past that phase and is firmly in the arena of mass market adoption. Only, we’re still finding that mass adoption – true mass adoption – has been slow. Traditional banking still has a dog in the fight, and they’re not backing down.
What are your feelings on the subject? Do you think the results of this study are representative of the population, or do you think more people are preferring FinTech options over traditional banking solutions? Leave a comment and let us know!