Older Australians Love Online Banking; Younger Generations Prefer Banking Apps

A new survey into banking habits and products reveals different age groups prefer different banking technology
Published on October 10th, 2022
  Written by 
Adrian Edlington
Adrian Edlington is PR & Communications Manager at Savvy. With a keen interest in personal finance, car loans, the mortgage industry, cost of living pressures, electric vehicles and renewable technology, Adrian's research includes conducting primary data surveys and analysis of up-to-the-minute secondary Australian data sources. His work on behalf of Savvy has been featured on ABC.net.au The Conversation, the Sydney Morning Herald, AFR, News.com.au, The Age, Herald Sun, Adelaide Now, SBS On The Money, 7News, Car Expert, Which Car, Drive.com.au and more. In his spare time, Adrian enjoys mountain biking and business podcasts.
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   Commentary by 
Bill Tsouvalas

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Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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Savvy has a look at the banking habits of Australians and what they’re using to conduct day to day transactions.

  • Only 45% of 18-24s use online banking, compared to 83% of 55-64s.
  • 78% of 25-34s use banking apps monthly, compared to 35% aged 65 and over.
  • 67% of 18-24s use Apple Pay, compared to 10% of 55-64s and only 3% aged 65 and over
  • Savings accounts more popular among women (83%) than men (77%)

A new survey commissioned by Savvy shows that 70% of Australians are using online banking on a monthly basis, compared to 61% using banking apps.

More telling was the breakdown of preferred digital banking method by age group; with online banking least popular among 18–24 year-olds (45%), and most popular with 55-64 year-olds (83%). By contrast, monthly banking app use was highest with younger age groups and lowest with older Australians: 78% for those aged 25-34, 76% for 18-24s, but only 50% for 55-64s and 35% for 65 and overs.

Banking Survey Infographic

Bank accounts and credit cards

When it came to bank accounts and other features, the representative demographic sample of Australian adults (n=1,002) showed that 84% of us use an everyday account, 80% also have a savings account, and 69% of us use a debit card. Savings accounts were generally popular among all age groups, particularly the younger demographics (90% for 18-24s, 89% for 25-30s). This decreased in popularity as age increased.

Mortgage offset accounts were most popular with the 45-54 and 55-64 demographic. (22% overall.)

53% of Australians use a credit card, with a 58% of women and 48% of men reporting they hold an active credit card. Interestingly, credit card usage varied greatly between age groups, with only 16% of 18-24s answering that they had a credit card, compared with 34% of 25-34s, 56% of 35-44s, 67% of 45-54s and 70% of 55-64 year-olds.

Graph Showing Online Banking vs Banking App Use in Australia, By Age Group
Monthly Digital Wallet Use in Australia by Age Group

Money Transfers

As for the monthly habits of Australians, over half (51%) of Australians transfer money using the traditional BSB and Account Number, despite the introduction of PayID (also known as Osko) which offers instant payments using a phone number, email address, or ABN/ACN. Only 9% self-reported using PayID to make transactions.

Cardless Payment Most Popular with Gen Z

32% of Australians use some kind of cardless electronic payment system such as Apple Pay (22%) or Google Pay/Android digital wallet (10%). Interestingly, Apple Pay is significantly more popular with women (28%) than men (16%), and most popular by far with 18-24 year-olds, at 67%.

Beemit, a bill splitting request system, was almost unheard of in Australia with only 1% saying they’ve used it within the last month.

The traditional plastic credit card or debit card was far and away the most popular, with three-quarters of Australians using it within the last month (76%).

BPAY, the online billing system, also remained relatively popular on 38%.

Only 1% of those surveyed said they used none of these methods – presumably using cash instead.

Table : Which of the Following Banking Features Do you Use Monthly?
Which of the Following Banking Products and Services Do You Currently Have? Table

Generational divide – expert

Personal finance expert and Savvy CEO Bill Tsouvalas says that while all age groups have taken to online banking, mobile and app banking is most popular amongst the young.

Personal finance expert and Savvy CEO Bill Tsouvalas;

“Our survey provided some really telling insights into the preferences for different services among different age groups. While you could guess that there would be a trend, it was surprising to see such a stark contrast."

“Millennials, Gen Z and Gen X are much more comfortable with banking apps than older Australians. By comparison older generations preferred online banking. It is testament to the successful transition from bricks and mortar banking to online banking services, however. This same discussion a decade or two ago would have been about consumers preferring in-person banking to online. Aussies of all age groups are clearly comfortable banking in an online world, which really speaks to our tech-savvy nature."

"Younger people are more likely to turn to their smart devices however, while older Australians prefer the desktop computer.”

Savvy 2022 Savings Survey; n=1002

Nationally representative survey of 1002 adult Australians, aged 18 and over. Conducted by Octopus Group, on behalf of Savvy.

Completion date: 1/09/2022

Age groups:18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65+

Gender breakdown: male n=499, female n=495, non-binary /prefer not to say n=6

Representative of state and territory populations:

NSW n=323 (32.3%), Vic n=248 (25.1%), Qld n=203 (20.2%), SA n=73 (7.2%), WA n=105 (10.6%) NT n=8 (0.7%), Tas n=23 (2.2%), ACT n=19 (1.7%)

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