I read with interest the news story “Half of ‘i-generation’ use Web for finances” (MW March 17). While the internet has undoubtedly revolutionised modern life, it is all too easy for optimists to assume that its reach eclipses all other communication channels.
Internet banking has indeed proved popular, especially among younger generations, for its ease of use and speed.
However, Royal Mail research conducted with the Henley Centre into consumer attitudes to postal and electronic communications showed that more traditional methods of banking remain important to consumers. While using the internet to access bank account information is popular, the number of actual transactions undertaken online, such as bill-paying, is still relatively low.
Most customers still prefer to receive a paper bill through the post, and the findings revealed that 29 per cent of respondents would actually switch financial services providers if they stopped receiving statements or bills though the post.
Much of this can be explained by trust in the medium. While using internet banking is undoubtedly easy, many consumers still place their trust in a printed statement ahead of figures they can access online.
The implications for marketers are obvious; the internet and the accessibility it delivers is a powerful channel, and usage of online banking services will undoubtedly continue to grow.ÂBut any bank that ignores consumer preferences and adopts a solely online model without giving consumers the option of postal communication does so at their peril.
Head of media markets
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