Digital banking statistics 2021

Over a quarter of Brits (14 million) have opened a digital-only bank.

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:

  • Over a quarter (27%) of British adults have opened an account with a digital-only bank, equating to 14 million people (2021).
  • This means 3 times more Brits have a digital bank than in January 2019 (9%).
  • By the end 2021, 38% of Brits either will have or intend to have a digital only bank – equal to almost 20 million Brits.
  • 4 in 5 (80%) use some form of online banking in the UK.
  • 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, in 2019.
  • Two-thirds of banking customers say they plan to convert fully to a digital bank in the future.

What do Brits think their primary banks are good at?

In 2020, digital banking services were rated as the second-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
Security 40%
Range of digital services (app, online banking, etc.) 39%
Personal service (including telephone, e-mail) 26%
Quality of advice 25%
Range of financial products and insurance offers 21%
Range of payment options 21%
Transparency 21%
Free-of-charge cash, also abroad 20%
Terms and conditions for keeping an account 20%
Lending conditions 9%
None of the above 7%
Don't know 11%
A range of digital services ranked as the most important feature among respondents, with 1% less 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 4 in 5 Brits now using online banking in 2020.

The percentage of Brits that use online banking

Year Online banking pentration
2020 80%
2019 78%
2018 74%
2017 68%
2016 64%
2015 58%
2014 57%
2013 54%
2012 52%
2011 :
2010 45%
2009 45%
2008 38%
2007 32%
2006 28%
2005 27%
Since 2005, online banking has experienced year-on-year growth every single year and has reached a peak of 80% in 2020 – meaning 4 out of 5 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.

The most popular disruptor banks around the world

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

Total number of app downloads

The most popular disruptor bank in the UK by app downloads in 2020 is Monzo, with over 4.4 million downloads. This is nearly 2 million downloads more than the next biggest challenger bank by app downloads, Revolut, who have 2.5 million app downloads. Starling Bank has had 2.2 million app downloads and Monese has had over 1 million downloads.

Bank Number of downloads (UK)
Monzo 4,427,749
Revolut 2,470,601
Starling Bank 2,172,972
monese 1,029,375

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

Looking at 2020’s third quarter (1 July – 30 September), Starling Bank and Monzo made net gains of 12,652 and 9,157 customers respectively, while Barclays, HSBC, NatWest and Santander all made net losses.

Halifax had the highest overall increase in customers, with a net gain of 22,742 customers. However, Halifax was offering a switch deal during this period and was the only high-street bank to make considerable gains.

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.

Brand Gains Losses Net Gains
Halifax 33,327 10,585 22,742
Starling Bank 14148 1496 12,652
Monzo Bank 12451 3294 9,157
Lloyds Bank 18,081 9,746 8,335
Bank of Scotland 2,513 1,846 667
Triodos Bank 736 70 666
Ulster Bank 337 398 -61
Danske 151 302 -151
AIB Group (UK) 44 304 -260
Bank of Ireland 57 331 -274
Clydesdale Bank 3,296 3,622 -326
Nationwide 9670 10598 -928
Co-operative 1,803 3,433 -1,630
Tesco Bank 55 2004 -1,949
Barclays 5,572 9,067 -3,495
RBS 3476 7171 -3,695
TSB 3512 8517 -5,005
NatWest 5904 15621 -9,717
Santander 11018 21047 -10,029
HSBC 5,998 20,861 -14,863

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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