The Canadian Bankers Association commissioned a survey of 4,000 Canadians which illustrates and puts numbers to trends also being seen in the insurance industry. Namely, they say widespread migration to digital technologies, driven by the pandemic, accelerated changes to the way Canadians do their banking.

The survey found that 78 per cent are using digital channels, both online and app-based, to conduct most of their banking, up from 68 per cent in 2016.

Mobile apps 

Nine out of ten or 89 per cent reported using online banking in the last year. Half say it is their most common banking method. The use of mobile app-based banking was also up, with 65 per cent of those surveyed saying they used banking apps in the last year, up from 56 per cent and 44 per cent who said the same thing in 2018 and 2016, respectively.

Broken down, they say nearly half of Gen Z respondents and well over a third of millennial respondents say apps are their leading banking method. When all demographic groups are combined, app use drops to 29 per cent.

“The broad-based shift towards online and mobile banking has gathered momentum during the pandemic. Consumers under the age of 30 are the main drivers of this trend,” they write. “Digital-first customer preferences are likely to become more entrenched in the years ahead.” They add that 86 per cent trust their bank to offer secure services. A slightly higher number, 87 per cent said they trusted banks to protect their personal information.

High satisfaction levels 

How Canadians Bank, is a biannual study conducted for the CBA by Abacus Data. They say a large majority, 93 per cent of Canadians are satisfied with online banking. A very similar number, more than 90 per cent said they were also satisfied with in-person banking.

“Customers want a digital-first approach to their financial transactions, in real-time, from anywhere, on a reliable and secure network,” they add. “Significant investments in modernization have helped banks in Canada anticipate and meet the evolving preferences of their customers.” 

The report also looks at the role of cash, trust in banking innovation and digital currencies. More than half of consumers, 56 per cent, led by younger Canadians said they would consider using a private cryptocurrency in the future. One-third or 36 per cent of consumers surveyed added that they expect to be using an alternative currency in five years.