Do Consumers Trust Banks Enough to Help Control Their Finances?

  • Philip Ryan
  • May 18, 2015
  • 3

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / KapaiBanks are exceeding customer expectations in digital services, but failing in matters of trust, according to a new survey from Fidelity National Information Services Inc. (FIS).

But if they are able to leverage their digital know-how to help customers gain better control of their financial lives, consumer trust should follow, FIS officials said.

The study of consumer banking expectations from FIS was released last week as part of the launch of a new consumer banking expectations index from the Jacksonville, Fla.-based technology company. More than 9,000 bank customers from across the globe participated in the study.

In general, customers are happy with the convenience, connectivity, and digital payments services provided by their banks, said Paul McAdam, senior vice president of enterprise strategy at FIS, and that means the investments in the digital experience over the last several years have not been wasted. Indeed, “Digital received investments necessary to maintain competitive parity with the marketplace, particularly the younger customers,” McAdam said.

But this digital success is built on a fundamental failure, which is that customers do not trust that banks are looking out for their best interests. In particular, customers surveyed said banks do not offer enough rewards, don’t focus enough on customized services, and don’t help them achieve their goals.

Smaller FIs, such as credit unions and community banks, did better on trust with the customers in the survey. The big banks did better on the convenience provided by digital services.

“Larger banks do tend to push the innovation farther,” McAdam said, referring to innovation in the technological sense.

Rebuilding trust based on digital strengths — with the given that customers show up at the branch less frequently — is a tricky proposition. McAdam recommended that banks devote efforts to building controls for customers to gain insight into their finances. “There is an opportunity for banks to help their customers be better money managers,” McAdam said. “They — many of them do — want to be in control of their money. So banks should look at, ‘What does my customer want to be?’ More in control of their situation, more secure.”

One specific way this can happen is offering information in alerts, McAdam said, to help with day-to-day decisions, as well as with life events.

Banks just have to hope customers trust them enough to allow for the alerts.

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Philip Ryan is Senior Editor of Bank Innovation and Senior Director of INV Fintech. He began covering financial services in 2012 and has more than 15 years' experience in online journalism, which makes him quite old. He can be reached at

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