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In an increasingly digital world, you’d think mobile and online banking would make physical bank branches obsolete. But a recent study shows that’s not the case. When choosing banking providers, consumers still care deeply about in-person services and convenient ATM access.

The study by The Ascent polled over 2,000 banking account holders last month. Researchers asked participants to rank the most important factors in their choice of financial institution. The results suggest we shouldn’t be so quick to ditch branches and ATMs just yet. 

Security and Account Holder Service Come First

The number one priority for respondents was security, with over 92% ranking it as “very important.” This suggests consumers know the digital landscape comes with risks. They want reassurance their money is safe, whether they bank in-person or online. 

Just as important as security was quality account holder service, which 92% of respondents felt was very important. So, while mobile apps and digital tools may provide convenience, human interaction is still vital for account holders. Having knowledgeable staff, robust FAQ documentation and easy-to-access communication tools to get answers to financial questions builds trust and meets key consumer demands.

Access Preferences…ATMs? Branches?!

Actual account access trailed security and service by only a single percent (91%), with mobile and digital at the top of the list. Hardly surprising in today’s technology-obsessed world. By now most banks and credit unions have realized providing user-friendly digital banking tools with self-service options is a necessity.

But “Easy ATM Access” coming in a VERY close second to mobile? At 90%? What?! It would seem a lot of consumers still consider access to cash withdrawals and deposits an essential part of their banking experience. Financial institutions looking to cut their budgets elsewhere may want to rethink their strategy if it means reducing or eliminating their ATM accessibility.

And aren’t ATMs just the cash equivalent of self-service and an extension of the mobile account holder experience?

Don’t count branches as out of the picture, either. While they did not rank as high as self-service account access options, 87% of respondents still noted that branch access was still a big consideration in their banking decisions.

So, while mobile access delivers convenient features like peer-to-peer payments, remote check deposits, and even budgeting tools, the role of ATMs and branches is far from extinct. Herein lies the paradox—consumers want both the innovative features of digital banking along with the personalized service of branches and ATMs.

Business Person Riding a Rocket Ship Illustration


Promote Your Channels Clearly

Financial institutions need to make it simple for account holders to know what their security, customer service, and account access options are. That’s where innovative branch and atm locators become vital. The innovative and interactive Wave 2 branch and ATM locator makes it easy for banks and credit unions to showcase all their access points for website visitors and mobile application users. Users simply choose to share their location or enter a city, state, or zip code to see nearby locations. Detailed listings provide hours, directions, services, contact information, and custom information – including photos, targeted messaging, branding, and much more.

With intuitive branch/ATM finders, you advertise the depth of your physical network. This reassures consumers who still depend heavily on in-person banking. Include your latest digital, security, and service features too, so account holders recognize the convenience you offer across physical and digital channels.

Embrace the Preference Paradox

Instead of choosing between physical and digital, give account holders the best of both worlds. Branch networks build trust through expertise and personal care. Meanwhile, online and mobile features deliver speed and round-the-clock availability. 

With seamless integration guiding consumers between these channels, financial institutions can finally resolve the consumer paradox and meet all user demands with one cohesive banking experience.

The Wave 2 branch and ATM locator makes it easy to showcase the full range of your institution’s access points. Give account holders the power to choose how and when they want to bank. Show them you offer the human touch of branches alongside digital convenience—the perfect pair to match what today’s consumers want most.

Contact Wave2 today!

Wave2 Contact:
Jason Green, Co-Founder
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