Bad Online Experiences Explain Why Banking Consumers Use Other Channels

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Most online shoppers perfer to open DDA accounts in traditional channels, but bad online experiences contribute to shoppers’ multichannel behavior.

By Rob Rubin, Managing Director,

Many bankers today cling to the outdated notion that sales primarily stem from local presence and spontaneous foot traffic. That explains why most banks and credit unions — particularly those under $10B in asset size — have under-funded their public-facing websites. In a recent survey of consumers who opened deposit accounts found that 70% preferred to shop online for these products. However, 71% of these online shoppers reported opening the account in a traditional channel.

Data from the March 2013 Novantas Shopping Preference Survey (n=2,237)

Data from the March 2013 Novantas Shopping Preference Survey (n=2,237)

Consumer channel preferences play a significant role in their multi-channel behavior – 50% of online shoppers prefer to open accounts in branches. For example, many Gen-Y consumers prefer to open checking accounts in branches because they don’t understand the product enough to be comfortable completing the transaction online.

But poor online experiences also contribute to multi-channel shopping behavior – more consumers prefer to open accounts online than the number of consumers that actually open accounts online. Why? Websites don’t provide enough information for consumers to feel confident moving forward and the online account opening process can be very clunky.

Banking institutions failure to adapt to consumers’ changing shopping behavior is because the value of their public websites is judged strictly by the volume of business closed and fails to take consumers’ multi-channel preferences into account. Consider this: If most shoppers that walk into branches have already visited your website, how many online shoppers 1) couldn’t find your website when they were shopping online or 2) visited your website and decided to look elsewhere because of a poor experience?

Insights from Rob Rubin is Managing Director of His research leverages insights captured from thousands of bank shoppers every day while they are actually thinking about- and in the process of shopping for a new bank.

This article was originally published on July 16, 2013. All content © 2018 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.


  1. An experience is nothing more than well defined processes that have been refined over time.

    It takes time to craft a solid digital experience. Credit unions have continued to invest millions of dollars into physical in branch experiences, but with an ever increasing shift to digital by consumers, the same must be done for digital experiences.

    Razorfish consumer research notes that, “Digital experiences create customers. The overwhelming majority of consumers who actively engage with a brand in digital fashion are much more inclined to purchase products and recommend the brand to others. 65% of consumers say that a digital experience, either positive or negative, changed their opinion of a brand. Of those, 97% said that their experience influenced whether they eventually purchased from the brand.”

    Mapping the digital experience is a good place to start simply by aligning <a href=", product and process around purpose.

    Often times, credit unions over complicate the intended end goal (online account opening or loan application). When auditing credit union digital channels, we find many areas where banks and credit unions can simplify the solution members are looking for. Remember, people wake up and say I need a car, not I need a car loan.

    This complication, and the reason that digital is driving people to branches, could be due to the fact that according to Forrester, only 14% of content is aligned to the buying process.

    At the end of the day, banks and credit unions will need to the same way they have invested in physical branches in the past.

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