Coronavirus: Banking apps more popular than social media during pandemic

Abigail Fenton
·Writer
·3-min read
Photo: RBS/NatWest
People in the UK are now more likely to have a banking app than a social media app. Photo: RBS/NatWest

Mobile banking apps have now become more popular than social media as a result of COVID-19, research suggests.

Older generations have flocked to online and mobile banking to ensure they stay on top of their money and bills while remaining safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, people in the UK are now more likely to have a banking app than a social media app on their mobile phone.

Nearly three in five (59%) Brits have a mobile banking app, while just half have social media apps, a survey of 1,000 by Mastercard (MA) found.

This trend is – perhaps unsurprisingly – most pronounced in those over the age of 65, with more than two in five (44%) saying they have a mobile banking app, while just over a quarter (27%) who have a social media app.

The reasons for the shift to digital banking are clear, with over-60s citing ease of use (65%), speed (61%) and safety during the coronavirus pandemic (30%) as the biggest advantages.

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The survey also found that due to lockdown making it harder to get to shops, Post Offices or local bank branches, three in 10 people are using banking apps more often. This is also the case among older users.

Over half (52%) of those aged 65 and over have used banking apps during the pandemic, with 21% using them more and 23% saying that they are now more confident when using the technology.

Six in 10 (58%) found it has been easier to use their banking app than they first thought it would be.

Interestingly, all users said that they will continue to use their banking apps when life returns to a more normal footing as well.

The research also highlighted that nine in 10 (88%) of those over the age of 65 believe contactless payments are a more convenient way to pay, with nearly half (45%) saying they’ll use less cash in the future.

READ MORE: Big rise in over-65s shopping and banking online and making contactless payments

Over a quarter (26%) also said they are using their mobile phones to make payments, and two in five (42%) said they would consider using other types of digital payments due to their experience with using their banking app during COVID-19.

“We’re seeing a marked acceleration in the use of online and digital banking services in the UK, across all generations including the oldest,” said Kelly Devine at Mastercard.

“Adoption has really picked up amid the COVID-19 pandemic as people adapt to new realities, and even those who traditionally might have been reluctant to engage with digital banking and payment technologies have been trying them for the first time.

“It’s likely that this change is here to stay too as our research shows they’re having an overwhelmingly positive experience.”

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