83% of consumers still prefer going to a traditional bank over digital transactions

NEW YORK — Enough talk about millennials and their avocado-toast-buying ways — new data suggests every generation is at risk of spending too much cash on their grub. A poll of 1,800 U.S. adults found, across the board, 48 percent said their grocery costs are eating up the majority of their monthly budget, followed by utility bills (38%) and credit card debt (37%). 

Younger Americans seem to be focused on their financial positioning for the future, as well. Thirty-eight percent Gen Zers are delegating the majority of their monthly budget towards loans, while 46 percent of millennials are likewise spending most of their money tackling credit card debt.

Meanwhile, 45 percent of Gen X is spending the most on groceries, 43 percent of baby boomers are paying the most on utility bills and 43 percent of the Silent generation are forking up the most for their rent and/or mortgages.

Traditional vs. digital banking

Commissioned by UserTesting and conducted by OnePoll, the study also revealed that when it comes to finances and banking, people across all generations prefer a human touch — 83 percent said they prefer using a traditional bank for their financial needs.

A third of people (36%) said they “strictly” use traditional banks, ditching digital completely — including 40 percent of Gen Z and 34 percent of baby boomers. In comparison, only 10 percent overall said they rather just use a digital bank with no physical presence.

People who prefer traditional banks said they like having the confidence their transactions are being handled correctly (60%) and being able to talk to a human (51%)“We’re seeing a strange dichotomy in banking unfolding in front of us,” says VP of Experience Research Strategy at UserTesting, Dana Bishop, in a statement. “We know physical banking branches are closing in droves, yet the data here supports that consumers — especially in younger generations — crave the human-first benefits traditional banks provide.” 

digital banking

While many said they prefer traditional banks, 67 percent said they still trust digital wallets and mobile banking apps – most popular amongst younger generations (76% of Gen Z and 86% of millennials) and least popular for baby boomers (48%).

“It’s important for digital banking platforms to consider the preferences and behaviors of their customers when building and designing products and services in order to meet this new need,” adds Bishop.

Two in five (41%) prefer mobile payment apps as a way of sending money back and forth and 53 percent do so up to five times per month. Six in 10 (60%) also admitted they’re more likely to spend money frivolously when using digital payment options.

Four in five (79%) digital bank users wished their banks offered some of the perks traditional, physical banks already have — such as the 45 percent of them that wish online banks offered the ability to talk to humans for customer support.

Out of all the respondents surveyed, Gen Z rather talk to humans the most (60%), compared to the Silent generation (49%) and baby boomers (28%).

“In reality, there’s still an open space for hybrid institutions to exist,” concludes Bishop. “Both digital and traditional banking platforms have their exclusive benefits, but there is a clear want and need for institutions to exist in both traditional and digital worlds, providing the shared perks either can offer.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 1,800 Americans with bank accounts was commissioned by UserTesting between March 3 and April 12, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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