ING released the results of its latest international survey on mobile banking, finding that while people are using their smartphones and tablets to perform banking tasks, they aren’t comfortable with giving up control of their finances to their computers.
The survey compared results in 13 countries throughout Europe, as well as the United States and Australia. Though nine out of 10 respondents in Europe own a smartphone, more than half of Europeans have a tablet. The survey found that 57 percent of smartphone owners in Europe have done their banking on the device at least once, and nearly half of Europe’s tablet owners (49 percent) have used them for banking. The most popular mobile banking activity was simply checking a balance or transaction.
But when it comes to the idea of computerized services that would perform specific daily activities, responses are mixed. In fact, about 91 percent wanted to retain control of their finances themselves and would not let a computer make money decisions — even if they would prefer the advantages of automated services, such as online access to robo-advice. Only 7 percent in the U.S. and about 3 percent across Europe and Australia said they would like a computer to conduct financial activities automated for them without their approval.
People were least comfortable with allowing a computer to automatically transfer six months’ pay into investments, with just 12 percent in Europe comfortable with this. One in five indicated they’d be happy to let a computer apply for new health insurance for them, and about one-third feel comfortable automating savings transfers (to avoid an overdraft) or having a computer program order milk from a store before they run out.
“People have a lot of faith in their own ability to make the best decisions. At the same time, we know from research that computer programs can outperform humans, so technologies like robo-advice have the potential to be very advantageous for consumers,” said Nathalie Spencer, behavioral scientist at ING Group Research.
Spencer believes that as consumers become more educated on the technology, they’ll eventually feel more comfortable utilizing it.
“It’s up to us now to understand better how we can address that need for control so that people can take advantage of robo-advice’s potential to improve their financial positions,” she said.