Digital banking statistics 2020

Over 1 in 10 Brits have fully switched to a digital-only bank

Updated . What changed?

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Digital banks (such as Monzo, Revolut and Starling Bank) offer simple, fee-free services for people wanting to track their spending immediately from their digital device. Our data shows that people really value good digital services from their bank, which helps explain the consistent increase in online banking use over the last 10 years. We looked for the latest stats on digital banking in the UK, along with carrying out our own research on how people are using their accounts and their future intentions when it comes to banking. Some digital banks have even been recommended in a list of the best banks in the UK.

The latest stats

According to our survey:

  • Almost a quarter (23%) of British adults have opened an account with a digital-only bank, equating to 12 million people.
  • Just over 1 in 10 Brits (12%) have fully switched to a digital-only bank.
  • Nearly half (47%) of those who use them keep less than £1,000 in a digital bank.
  • Two-thirds of banking customers say they plan to convert fully to a digital bank in the future.

What do Brits value from their primary banks?

In 2020, digital banking services were rated as the best feature of people’s primary banks. Do people, therefore, consider digital services to be a critical component of their financial provider?

Banking features that Brits value

Service Percentage of people
Range of digital services 42%
Security 41%
Personal service 28%
Quality of advice 25%
Range of financial products and insurance offers 23%
Transparency 22%
Terms and conditions for keeping an account 21%
Range of payment options 21%
Free-of-charge cash, also abroad 19%
Lending conditions 10%
None of the above 7%
Don't know 11%
A range of digital services ranked as the most important feature among respondents, with 1% more people choosing this as the most important feature than those who chose security. A range of digital services also received almost double the popularity that a range of financial products did.

Online banking popularity

Online banking popularity has increased steadily between 2007 and 2020, with more than three-quarters of Brits now using online banking in 2020.

The percentage of Brits that use online banking

Year Online banking pentration
2020 76%
2019 73%
2018 69%
2017 63%
2016 60%
2015 55%
2014 53%
2013 50%
2012 47%
2011 44%
2010 42%
2009 41%
2008 35%
2007 30%
Since 2007, online banking has experienced year-on-year growth every single year and has reached a peak of 76% in 2020 – meaning more than 3 out of 4 Brits are using online banking. As the level of online banking increases, it may be seen as an indicator that Brits would be more willing to use digital-only banks as they become more used to banking online and on their mobile phones.

We looked at some of the latest statistics to see which disruptor bank is the most popular around the world.

Total number of app downloads

The most popular disruptor bank by app downloads in Q3 2019 is Revolut, with over 8.3 million downloads. This is nearly double the next biggest challenger bank by app downloads, N26, who have 4.4 million app downloads by Q3 2019. Monzo has had over 4 million app downloads and Starling over 1 million downloads.

Disruptor bank Number of app downloads
Revolut 8,360,700
N26 4,440,000
Monzo 4,082,000
Starling 1,460,000

EU based digital bank N26 has chosen to stop operating in the UK in early February due the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

High street vs Digital Banking: which banks are winning customers?

Looking at 2020’s first quarter, Monzo and Starling Bank made net gains of 19,049 and 15,153 customers respectively during the first three months of 2020, while Barclays, Halifax, Lloyds, RBS and Santander all made net losses.

While HSBC did well, with a net gain of 33,994 customers, it’s worth noting that this figure includes customers of its younger upstart First Direct. Nationwide and NatWest both made respectable net gains of 22,993 and 15,681 respectively – but both offered significant switching incentives around this time. Nationwide was running its Recommend a Friend scheme until 6 April, while NatWest was offering a £175 switching bonus to anyone that switched using CASS.

The data shows a 65% drop in total switches during lockdown vs the first three months of 2020, which reflects a decline in the number of switching incentives while banks seemed to focus on their existing customers.

Bank Gains Losses Net gains
HSBC 74,563 40,569 33,994
Nationwide 43,883 20,890 22,993
Monzo 22,096 3,047 19,049
NatWest 43,883 27,900 15,681
Starling Bank 16,872 1,719 15,153
Barclays 8,818 20,136 -11,318
Lloyds 12,049 23,527 -11,478
RBS 4,047 18,141 -14,094
Halifax 7,841 31,031 -23,189
Santander 12,030 41,222 -29,192

High street vs Digital Banking: consumer opinions over the COVID-19 pandemic

Customer sentiment towards 10 of the UK’s biggest high-street and digital-only banks fell by 7 percentage points (pp) during lockdown, according to our new research from finder.com and social analytics specialist BrandsEye.

This leaves overall consumer sentiment for the banking industry at -24% on a possible scale of +100% to -100% for the period between 1 March and 31 July.

However, over 800,000 social media posts from customers revealed that digital banks saw a sentiment decline of almost three times that of high-street banks during the pandemic. On average digital-only banks’ customer sentiment fell by 14pp compared to just 5pp for high-street banks.

While this is a blow for digital-only banks, it should be noted that high-street banks had, and continue to have, a much lower overall sentiment (-13% vs -35% currently).

Sentiment pre-lockdown Sentiment post-lockdown Percentage point difference
Atom 11.2% 9.2% 2.00%
Starling 12.4% -1.4% -13.80%
Monzo 1.6% -2.3% -3.90%
Monese 0.1% -19.3% -19.40%
Revolut -18.0% -29.3% -11.30%
HSBC -30.9% -29.9% 1.00%
Lloyds -35.9% -32.6% 3.30%
Santander -21.3% -33.1% -11.80%
Natwest -40.0% -37.0% 3.00%
Barclays -21.8% -41.5% -19.70%

Most common digital bank customer complaints

53% of digital bank customers felt negatively about their provider during the lockdown, with savings rates being the main problem (21%).

Customers’ main method of interacting with their digital-only bank is through an app, so this is perhaps why customers’ second biggest issue was around their bank’s app (15%).

Poor customer service appeared to be a running theme with 14% of digital-only banks’ customers complaining about the level of customer service they received over the phone and digitally.

Can't get enough information about digital banking?

  • Digital banking adoption
  • For more digital banking information, check out our banking adoption statistics page. finder conducted a digital banking adoption survey to get a feel of what the British public thinks.

  • Digital bank usage
  • Almost half (47%) of Brits are keeping £1,000 or less in their digital-only bank accounts with 3 in 10 (30%) holding less than £100 in their accounts. Across all accounts, the average amount held is £3,214. What other trends can we see in the Brits digital bank usage?

Sources used

  • Statista
  • Eurostat
  • Current Account Switch Service (CASS)

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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