The act of physically visiting your branch is quickly heading in the same direction as the chequebook.
Mobile banking is set to be more popular than visiting a high street bank branch within two years, according to new forecasts, highlighting how technology is transforming the way Brits bank.
The tipping point will arrive in 2021, according to analysis by the consultancy Caci, when the number of customers regularly using branches will be overtaken by those using apps.
The digital upstarts offering app-only banking for smartphone users
Seventy-one percent of customers are expected to use mobile apps for banking by 2024. Over the same period, the number of customers who bank in branches is expected to decline to 55%.
The rapid uptake of app banking has forced Britain’s biggest banks to reassess their costly footprint of physical branches.
Britain’s banks have closed two-thirds of their branches over the last 30 years, according to Which?. There were more than 20,500 branches in the UK in 1988, but just 7,586 at the end of last year.
The decline has been driven by the rise of phone banking, internet banking, and mobile apps, reducing the number of visits people make to a physical branch. Meanwhile, the financial crisis that started in 2008 led to banks losing billions of pounds, further adding pressure to cut costs.
More recently a slew of startup banks that do not operate branches, such as Monzo, N26, Revolut and Starling, have gained licences to offer banking services. Their rapidly growing user-numbers have spurred traditional banks to spend billions on technology.
Debit cards overtook cash in 2017 as the most prevalent method of payment in the UK, according to UK Finance figures. However, 1.3m adults – concentrated among younger people and the over-85s – still do not have access to a bank account or an e-money alternative, according to the Financial Conduct Authority.