Sixty one percent of US banking customers favor portable banking account numbers

   Sixty one percent of US banking customers favor portable banking account

PR Newswire

IRVING, Texas, Feb. 28, 2013

IRVING, Texas, Feb. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Portable account numbers,
designed to make switching between banking providers easier, would be welcomed
by customers across the world, according to an online YouGov study conducted
by BT.

The research, which surveyed more than 6,500 people across six countries
worldwide, found that the majority of consumers in Spain (76 percent), Hong
Kong (70 percent), France (64 percent), Germany (61 percent) and the UK (62
percent) all agree that a portable identity number — allowing them to switch
banks without changing account details — would be useful.

Despite this, there are mixed feelings about the prospect of banks sharing
their IT infrastructure and having access to customers' personal information,
which reflects a concern about the security and protection of personal data.
In fact, many respondents felt that banks sharing infrastructure would be a
bad idea (38 percent), whilst a significant number were undecided (28
percent), even though it would have the potential to improve competition and
allow them to switch banks more easily.

Of those countries surveyed, only in Hong Kong (75 percent) and Spain (54
percent) did a majority of respondents think that a shared IT infrastructure
for banks was a good idea.

Meanwhile, the majority of respondents across all markets did not consider
engaging in dialogue or sharing information with their banks over social media
channels as a priority, despite the explosion of sites like Twitter and
Facebook across the globe. On the contrary, when asked which three tools they
would most like their bank to provide, customers indicated that they would
like to see more sophisticated online tools such as peer review sections (32
percent), webchat facilities (23 percent) and 'compare-my-bank' type services
(29 percent) to give them better information and help them make informed

Tom Regent, president, global banking and financial markets, BT Global
Services said: "There is clearly an appetite for technology and services which
help increase transparency and competition, such as number portability and
richer online comparison tools. But there is also a significant level of
apprehension around the creation of a shared banking infrastructure. With any
new solution that the industry moves forward with, they will need to be
mindful that consumers need reassurance around security and protection of
their data. Increasingly, we are working with our bank customers to develop
security strategies, helping them to put effective risk and compliance
management in place, test for malicious system attacks, and support identity
and access management."

When asked about which three factors would be the most appealing when
considering moving banks, the results were fairly consistent across all
countries. Good online banking facilities (39 percent), the presence of a
local branch (45 percent) and the ability to access banking services 24/7 (29
percent) were ranked highest.

Respondents in Spain placed more emphasis than others on having trust in a
bank's brand (37 percent) and reputation for security (36 percent) – ranking
that higher than factors such as 24/7 availability of banking services (22

Some interesting geographical differences also emerged in the perceptions of
banking technology, with German consumers the least likely to choose mobile
banking in their top three most trusted banking technologies, followed closely
by the UK. Only five percent of Germans and 10 percent of Brits said that
mobile banking is one of their three most trusted technologies, although the
results were low across all countries. Across the board, Internet banking,
in-branch self-service and ATMs were viewed as the three most trustworthy

Tom Regent continued: "Banks are increasingly focused on providing services
via smart phones and tablet devices in order to keep pace with digital changes
and innovation. While this is an important strategy, banks must be careful not
to lose sight of the need for human contact in either the branch or via a
local call center agent. Our research shows that these continue to be
customers' most trusted and preferred channels."

Customers are even more cautious about the use of alternative payments, such
as Twollars, Bitcoins, Facebook Credits and virtual wallets. The percentage of
respondents who had tried alternative payments was less than 10 percent across
most of the countries polled. However, respondents from Hong Kong and Spain
were the most likely to try alternative payment methods in the next 18 months
(43 percent and 36 percent respectively). Respondents from the USA and
Germany were least likely to say they would try alternative payment systems in
the next 18 months (12 percent and nine percent).

Notes to editors:
Smart Service is the latest in a series of research projects commissioned by
BT to track consumer attitudes towards customer services and technology in
retail banking.

The Smart Service research follows an earlier study by BT titled Youbiquity
Finance, which found that found that despite the growing use of telephone,
mobile and internet banking in recent years, almost three quarters (73
percent) of customers in the UK see their local branch as the most vital link
with their bank in the future – second only to cash machines.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size
was 6,647 adults in France (1010), Germany (1053), Hong Kong (518), Spain
(1006), the USA (1000) and the UK (2060). Fieldwork was undertaken between
11-27 December 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been
weighted and are representative of all adults (aged 18+) in each market.

Further details on the research can be found at:

For further information

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About BT

BT is one of the world's leading providers of communications services and
solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal
activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local,
national and international telecommunications services to its customers for
use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and
services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists
principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT
Wholesale and Openreach.

In the year ended 31 March 2012, BT Group's revenue was £18,897m with profit
before taxation of £2,445m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group
plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT
Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit


Contact: Kris Kozamchak, Head of PR and Corporate Relations U.S.,
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