Online bankingMobile bankingConsumers

Online and mobile banking are now standard

Christian Jung

Online banking was introduced in Germany almost 30 years ago. As is the case with most innovations, it took some time before the broader population accepted the process. Now, however, a representative survey by the Association of German Banks shows that the majority of adults in Germany make use of online or mobile banking. There are also continued positive developments regarding how secure users believe online banking to be. 

The number of online and mobile banking users continues to grow

84 percent of those surveyed in Germany use online or mobile banking to carry out essential bank transactions. There is thus no doubt that Germans have fully accepted digital banking as a normal part of daily life. The number of users has grown particularly rapidly over the past few years: in 2019, the percentage of people using online or mobile banking was at 52 percent, and two years ago had risen to 78 percent. The growth seen during the pandemic continued even after the pandemic had officially ended. The number of users has increased in almost all age groups, including among older survey participants. The number of people over the age of 60 using online or mobile banking rose disproportionately quickly, from 65 to 72 percent.

Account balance queries and bank transfers are the most frequently used of the many different banking services available online. 82 percent and 78 percent of those surveyed answered that they used these services ‘frequently’ or ‘very frequently’. Share and other securities transactions are (very) frequently carried out online by 21 percent of those surveyed, quite a high number, while 27 percent answered that they used these services occasionally.

Trust in online banking security continues to rise

It seems that the number of people who use online banking and thus have their own experience to fall back on correlates with the amount of trust people have that online banking is secure. Today, the large majority of Germans believe that online banking is secure. 81 percent, that’s more than four-fifths of those surveyed, said that online banking was “secure” (59 percent) or “very secure” (22 percent). This means that confidence in online banking security has once again risen by three percentage points as compared to 2022. While it’s true that the belief that online banking is based on secure technology decreases slightly with the age of survey participants, even seven out of ten of those over 60 (73 percent) believed that online banking was secure.

Digital banking is now the most popular form of banking

Digital banking has become the most common form of banking out of all options clients have for doing business with their bank. 38 percent of those surveyed said that they mostly did their online banking from their computer, while a further 36 percent said they used mobile banking. Far behind these percentages, at 17 percent, are those who visit a branch of their bank, and only 7 percent use the self-service terminals at the bank for transfers or other bank services. 

The method people use for accessing bank services continues to vary based on age: mobile banking is particularly popular with a younger demographic, with 56 percent of those 18 to 29 using it, but as people age, the percentage who use mobile banking drops steadily, with only 22 percent of those over 60 years of age making use of the service. This demographic has the highest number of people who still visit their bank in person to access services, at 28 percent, but even in this age group, the number of people who do their banking via a computer is much larger (41 percent).

Going to a branch remains rare, even after the end of the pandemic 

When specifically asked how frequently they visited a branch of their bank, 17 percent of survey participants said they did so at least once a week, an additional third of participants (32 percent) said they did so at least once a month. These numbers are only slightly higher than those seen during the pandemic in 2020 and 2022, when many people were consciously trying to avoid unnecessary contact. Over the long term, from 2001 onwards, the trend also seems to be moving away from visiting a branch. Branches still remain an important point of sale for financial services that require more intensive consultation, and many clients still place value on personal contact with staff and advice from their bank. However, the results of the survey also show that once people have come to know and love the advantages of online banking, they are rarely willing to give them up.

Christian Jung
Christian JungDirector