Travelex Currency Solutions today released the findings from its new report The Race to Re-bundle the Bank. It revealed that UK consumers have increased the total number of money-related accounts they hold, with more fintech and challenger bank accounts added than those from traditional banks. Consumers are effectively ‘unbundling’ their traditional bank into disparate services from multiple alternative providers. However, consumers – especially millennials – have become frustrated with managing numerous accounts, and are looking to their incumbent bank to consolidate them into a single marketplace.
Banks have been unbundled
The research, based on responses from 1,000 UK consumers, clearly shows an increasingly loyalty-averse public accruing money-related accounts that cater for discrete financial needs.
The average number of money-related accounts held by consumers has increased markedly over the last 10 years. The number of fintech providers used has increased by over 50%, with e-wallets (80%) and international money transfer accounts (29%) showing the biggest gains. In contrast, traditional banks have only seen an increase of 11%.
Younger consumers in particular have more diverse financial lives. Nearly a quarter of respondents under 36 have three fintech accounts or more.
Historically, consumers turned to their incumbent bank for a range of services. With unbundling consumers are increasingly enlisting a plethora of alternative providers to meet their financial needs, even if their bank has a similar offering.
New rules of attraction
The reason for opening additional accounts is driven by a specific financial need. The primary needs that lead people to stray are budgeting, bill payment and specific services like money transfer. Interestingly, only 11% cite the user experience as a reason to look beyond their current provider.
When selecting a particular provider, consumer focus shifts to “cheaper, better, faster”. In this context, the leading factors are the rate/cost of services offered (31%), the speed of service (29%) – which jumps to 40% for 18-25 year olds – and the user experience (23%).
The race to re-bundle
Traditional banks have been unbundled and disintermediated by alternative providers. This has led to ‘finance fatigue’ as consumers struggle to manage multiple accounts. Now they are looking to their bank for a solution.
42% of consumers expressed frustration at their lack of ability to manage multiple accounts from one place and, of those, 55% said they had considered closing accounts because of it. When asked who they wanted to provide a marketplace service that consolidates accounts and providers into a single dashboard, almost 60% said their incumbent bank.
Interestingly, re-bundling accounts would drive consumers to use an even wider range of providers. 59% of consumers would be more likely to use other money-related accounts if they could manage them from a single interface.
“Banks have been unbundled. Our financial lives are now decentralised as alternative providers offer faster, better and cheaper solutions to specific financial needs. However, finance fatigue presents an opportunity for traditional providers as well as fintech players,” said Colin Swain, Global Head of Product and Operations, International Payments at Travelex. “By consolidating and helping consumers to manage their accounts, banks can help make sense of this fragmented financial landscape. In turn, this marketplace approach will encourage people to use an even greater number of services in the comfort that it won’t create more frustration.”
“With traditional providers vying with challengers and even technology companies like Google and Apple to provide this marketplace, the race is on to re-bundle the bank,” concluded Swain.
The report is available for download here: Travelex