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Young Americans are interested in doing banking a little differently — i.e. without the bank. A recent survey found 39% of bank customers ages 18 to 34 would consider switching to an online-only bank, compared with 29% of consumers between 35 and 55 years and 16% of people older than 55.

The data was drawn from a survey of nearly 4,000 retail bank customers in the U.S. and Canada, conducted by global consulting firm Accenture from March 8 to 10. The margin of error is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.

Switching to an online-only bank is understandably appealing: You never have to physically go anywhere in order to conduct financial business, and there are no branch hours to contend with. The willingness to embrace technology in personal finance goes beyond ditching the brick-and-mortar bank branches (but if you’re interested in going branchless, here are some things to know): 72% of young Americans said they would be likely or very likely to bank with at least one non-banking company they patronize, if they offered banking services. Some of the more popular prospects include PayPal, Google, Amazon and Apple.


Tech giants have already moved into the mobile payments sphere. For example, you can use GoogleWallet to send and receive money from friends, and PayPal is one of the biggest alternatives to using credit and debit cards online. Alternative payment methods (as in not cash, credit card or debit card) made up 6.5% of transaction volume in Europe in 2013, up from 4.8% the year before, according to Accenture’s report. That figure is projected to reach 8.8% this year and 53% by 2020.

But would you want to manage your finances alongside your iTunes library or trust your savings with a company that allows you to shop using the Twitter hashtag #AmazonCart?

People are open to it, particularly the consumers younger than 35. In that group, 46% said they’d likely bank with PayPal, 40% with Google, 37% with Amazon and 34% with Apple, if those companies offered banking services. Among the 35- to 55-year-olds, interest drops to 34%, 23%, 23% and 20%, respectively. (Older consumers are open to Walmart as a banking institution, as well, with 24% of people 35 to 54 likely to use a potential Walmart bank. Thirty-three percent of the younger group feel that way.) The 55-plus crowd had a less than 10% interest in banking with any of these companies.

Getting What You Need

Perhaps people are open to technology giants as financial service providers because they want more from their banking experiences.

Most people (71%) see their interactions with their banks to be transactional, as opposed to relationship-based. At the same time, 51% want their bank to “proactively recommend products and services for their financial needs.” As with many things these days, people want more data: 48% said they wanted real-time analytics of their spending and projections based on them.

Those tools exist in various forms across the Web, but you may not find them when you log into your online bank account. If you’re interested in recommendations for improving your credit, you can use the free tools on Credit.com that give you free credit scores and help match you to credit cards and loan products that fit your credit profile.

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