Banks are increasingly turning to technology as the way to meet our banking needs – and it seems most of you are happy with this. How do you prefer to contact your bank?
You told us about your experiences of getting in touch with your bank and we investigated how convenient it was to access them when you need to.
We found that while some banks had been shutting their branches, others had been expending their network and investing heavily in improving their technology.
RBS, for example, has committed £700m to refurbishing its 600 branches, as well as its IT and new technology capabilities over the next three years. And HSBC has also invested £500m in updating its existing branches, including the introduction of iPads for online banking.
In branch or online
While most people still prefer to bank in branch, 89% of the Which? members we surveyed have access to online banking and 76% use telephone banking.
This reflected our Which? Convo poll, where 67% of you said you prefer to do your banking online, 51% like to do their banking in branch and 18% like to use telephone banking.
Lee Beaumont uses a mixture of services to do his banking:
‘Most of my banking I can do online. I never use telephone banking. If I want to ask them something I will direct message them on Twitter and get them to call me. Or if it’s about my account I will send them an email via my online banking.’
Testing the banks
To test whether banks’ new technologies are really meeting customer needs, we asked the 14 biggest high street banks and building societies which banking methods they offered.
Then we tested the six biggest banks to see how convenient it was to contact them using the six main access methods (in branch, by phone, live web chat, email, letter and social media).
To gauge their quality of service, we timed how long it took to answer two simple questions we had about current and savings accounts.
We found that contacting the banks by phone usually took longer than going into a branch to get our questions answered properly, while live web chat elicited more comprehensive answers to our questions.
Email and letter were the least effective methods of contact, with the longest response time, while we found that social media was of limited use.
But perhaps, as Which? Convo commenter Wincy says, it’s ‘horses for courses’. We all have our preferences on how we like to contact our bank – what’s your preferred way?