Online and mobile banking grows, branch banking withers

Americans ages 18-29 prefer mobile baking, ages 65 and older lead in online banking

Sabrina Karl
Personal Finance Writer
Data whiz and visual storyteller


Four in 10 Americans bank online more frequently than any other method, according to a September 2017 survey by the American Bankers Association. In second place is mobile banking, which was selected by about a quarter of consumers as their go-to method. 

Traditional bank branches finished in third rank, with just 18 percent of Americans reporting they do most of their banking in branches. 

Segmenting the ABA data highlights how much the popularity of these top three methods varies across generations.

With consumers age 65 and older, online banking is their runaway favorite, with more than half (52 percent) reporting it’s their most frequent method. Yet, 27 percent still primarily bank at a physical branch. Mobile was selected by just 9 percent in this age bracket. 

Shifting to consumers age 55-64, branch banking remains as popular, at 27 percent. But mobile banking steals share from online banking, with 15 percent naming mobile their most frequent banking method. 

Branch banking starts its decline in the 45- to 54-year-old bracket, cited by just 18 percent of respondents. Conversely, mobile banking continues to grow among this group, to 21 percent. Online banking is still the crowd favorite, though, with almost half of those age 45-54 (47 percent) saying it is their top banking method. 

Mobile banking begins a dramatic upward surge among Americans age 30-44, with more than a third (36 percent) calling it their most common banking method. This deals a blow to both online banking and branch popularity, dropping to 35 percent and 12 percent, respectively. It’s also the first cohort that names mobile as its top-ranked banking method. 

The youngest group, age 18-29, continues the building trend toward mobile, preferred by close to half of respondents (46 percent). This gain comes mostly at the expense of online banking, which drops to 27 percent while branch banking remains relatively stable at 11 percent. 

The American Bankers Association poll was conducted by research firm Morning Consult, which administered online surveys of 2,000 adults in late August 2017. The results were weighted to mirror general population demographics and released Sept. 21.

Online and mobile banking grows, by generations

See related: Online banking is still tops, but mobile surges, Banks add virtual tellers as branch numbers shrink, Online and mobile banking statistics No cards required: new ATMs more accessible to disabled

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Updated: 03-22-2019