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By next year, 47% of current account holders will be likely to use mobile banking on a regular basis, data specialists CACI said.

Mobile banking on phones and tablets will become more popular than internet banking on computers next year, a report predicts.

The growth of mobile banking on apps in the UK will see them eclipse desktop banking as the most popular digital banking method in 2019 in terms of users, according to industry data specialists CACI.

At present, 41% of current account holders are likely to use mobile banking on a regular basis while 42% are likely to use internet banking on their computer, according to the findings.

By 2019, 47% of current account holders will be likely to use mobile banking on a regular basis while 36% will be likely to use their computer regularly to manage their current account, the report predicts.

Changes in behaviour by older people are driving the changes, the research said.

mobile banking more popular as branches close
Royal Bank of Scotland is to close 162 branches in England and Wales (Jane Barlow/PA)

CACI said on average, people now visit their bank branch only five times per year.

Rural areas and coastal towns are likely to see a particularly big jump in digital banking, CACI predicts.

Jamie Morawiec, associate partner at CACI, said: “It’s clear that the first wave of digital banking migration has taken place in the UK and what we will see in the next five years is a different demographic driving digital growth.

“At the moment, rural areas and coastal towns have low levels of digital channel use.

“This contrasts with large urban areas, which already have much higher numbers of mobile users.

“Almost half of customers in places like London, Oxford and Brighton are already using apps to manage their current accounts.”

The findings come as bank branch numbers dwindle.

rbs branch
D K Grove /

Earlier this month, Royal Bank of Scotland said it is to close 162 branches in England and Wales.

In April, Lloyds Banking Group outlined plans to shut 49 branches.

The numbers behind the growth of mobile banking

Mobile banking customers logged into their accounts 275 times on average last year, according to a trade association.

In total, customers logged into banking mobile apps 5.5 billion times in 2017 – a 13% increase compared with 2016, UK Finance said.

Customers also received 512 million text alerts.

Over 5.5 million webchats took place with major banks’ customers in 2017, UK Finance’s The Way We Bank Now report banking in shopping mall

This was a 24% increase on the previous year and the equivalent of 622 webchats taking place per hour.

UK Finance said banking customers are taking advantage of more banking webchat services than ever before.

It said the popularity of services such as Twitter, Facebook messenger and WhatsApp is encouraging banks to invest in similarly fast and convenient webchat services.

It said in the coming years, video banking and voice activation will become even more prominent.

Increasingly, customers are using new technologies to talk to experts outside conventional bank branch hours rather than taking time out of their working day, the association said.

Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance said: “Technology is changing the way we communicate, work and shop and, as a result, the way we choose to manage our money.

“The industry has responded to this seismic social change, which is very much led by customers looking to make the most of digital innovation for convenience.

“The assumption that British consumers shy away from talking about money looks to be consigned to the last century, as webchats and video banking prove increasingly popular.

“And with over 22 million British customers having downloaded banking apps, this trend is not going away.”

Dan Cooper, UK banking and capital markets leader, at EY, which sponsors the report, said: “We’re now able to make payments and communicate with our bank at times which suit us through increasingly sophisticated apps and webchat services.

“Given how busy people’s lives are nowadays, this is proving to be a real game changer.”

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