At the very core of our day-to-day lives is our ability to access, spend and manage money. As technology advances, how can we protect access to banking?
While many of us will not want to think about it, making a payment is one of the most common activities we undertake as an adult.
We are so used to simply being able to tap a card, hand over cash or type in a pin, that we can easily fail to realise the enormity of the infrastructure that is enabling our payments and the extent of the transition that we have undergone as we move rapidly to a world of digital banking and payments.
For people comfortable using banking and money apps, and for people with money to manage, new technology can provide great opportunities.
We have seen examples of smart saving apps, new budgeting tools and accounts that will save us money spending abroad.
But we must not forget that there is a large number of people that simply want to be able to receive and spend their money is a way that suits them – and for many this still means visiting a branch and using cash.
Are we ready for a digitally dominated world?
Our research has shown that almost everyone in the UK – 95% – still uses some form of physical banking services, with most of us in the UK visiting a branch and using an ATM in the last three months.
It also highlights that many people in the UK are far from ready or able to make the leap to a world dominated by online banking and digital payments.
For some people, this will be because there are still services we need to visit a branch for – paying in cash or to speak to staff – or because we need cash as it is still a useful means of making a payment in our daily lives, but for a significant proportion of the population online or mobile banking are simply not suitable alternatives to branches and cash.
Our research shows that as many as 11 million people in the UK would not be confident checking their balance online and around a third of us would not be confident setting up a regular payment.
A shocking 85% of consumers said they would find it difficult to live their lives without the ability to withdraw cash.
It is unsurprising then, that most people would would need support if they were to start banking online and relying on digital payments.
Our new work shows that over half of consumers would need support to improve their digital capability if they had to transition to online banking and eight in 10 consumers would need support just in case something went wrong while banking online.
How do we protect and support?
We believe that, where possible, consumers should be able to access the support and services necessary to enable them to bank online when they want to.
But for many people in the UK, the simple truth is there is still no alternative to in-person banking services that will allow them to bank safely, comfortably and securely.
Over the next few months Which? is going to be talking to businesses and charities in the UK about what more we can be doing to ensure that nobody in the UK is left without access to vital banking services.
To discover more, download and view our Everyday Finances reports here.