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Consumers frustrated by online banking services whilst physical branches closed

The majority of consumers are underwhelmed by their bank’s online services, according to a new survey, as many physical branches remain closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Technology services company Olive questioned 2,000 consumers, with 58 per cent of people saying they had been unable to access the help or online banking facilities they needed from home.

With many banks having reduced their opening hours, some consumers surveyed said they had been unable to get through online when needed and 30 per cent criticised their bank for failing to respond to their query in “real time”.

Many older banking users have been forced to switch to digital platforms in recent months as a result of the lockdown and online payments have also doubled amongst the over-65s.

Some survey respondents said they could not contact their bank online through live chat, virtual agent or social media and younger adults were likely to complain of a lack of video banking facilities.

However, Olive also found that banks have been striving to improve their online banking services.

Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of banks surveyed by Olive since the pandemic are spending £50,000 or more in improving their digital and online customer services and a third have invested between £500,000 and £2m, it found.

Martin Flick, chief executive at Olive, said: “Lockdown has been a real opportunity for banks to aid and support their customers through testing times, by providing the best in collaborative online customer service, enabling customers to stay safe and observe social distancing rules by being able to bank online, whenever and however.

“Despite banks investing significant sums in enhancing their digital banking systems since Covid-19, our report shows that consumers are still feeling immensely frustrated by the lack of choice, accessibility and, at times, quality of online services.”

Last week, the locations for a new trial designed to improve people’s access to cash were revealed focusing predominantly on smaller towns and villages where electronic payments are less popular. 

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