PROFILE OF ADOPTERS

Headlines

  • For the first time we are able to profile the early adopters of two core open banking-enabled propositions.
  • Open banking users show a slight bias to male (56%), although this is less marked for savings apps (53%).
  • They are also younger than the national average, with 68% of them under 45.
  • Open banking users tend to be less financially confident than the national population. 27% rate themselves as low on their financial confidence.
  • Many of those adopting these services had quite significant levels of worry about aspects of the finances:
  • 43% worry they don’t have enough savings
  • 31% worry about their level of debt;
  • and 18% struggle with their monthly bills.
  • While this analysis has some limitations, it strongly suggests that these services are appealing to a core population of consumers who would benefit from the support and help provided.

Understanding the gender and age of early adopters

One of the potential negative factors included in the Theory of Change is “differential impacts of propositions on different consumer types”, so we were interested to understand the types of consumers who were among the early adopters of these services. Given that open banking was intended to benefit all types of consumers, this is crucial.

We set out the demographic profile of survey respondents in Figure 17. While we can only draw tentative conclusions at this stage, we are able to compare the sample of users of TPP services who participated in the survey with the whole UK national population.

This comparison shows that the early adopters of open banking-enabled services have a slight skew towards male, although this skew is much less pronounced among users of the savings apps.

In terms of age profile, the adopters of these services are certainly younger than the UK population as a whole. For example, we do see an over-indexing of 25 – 44-year-olds, who represent over half of our sample, but only 26% of the national population. However, it is worth noting that this seems to be consistent with data on usage of online or mobile banking users, who are on average younger than the UK population8.

However, it is promising that we do see older users of open banking-enabled propositions (with 12% being over 55) and younger users (with 16% being under 24, against a share of the national population of just 12%).

Figure 17: Age and gender of customers compared to national benchmark

Financial behaviour of adopters

We were particularly interested in identifying the extent to which consumers that could benefit from improved management of their finances are attracted to and actually realising benefits from using open banking-enabled services. Utilising elements of consumer needs-based segmentation developed in the Consumer Priorities for Open Banking report9 , we asked respondents a series of questions asking them to rate themselves on several behavioural and financial health metrics. The first two of these attributes were financial confidence and degree of shopping around.

Less financial confidence

On financial confidence (see Figure 18), the results suggest that the early adopters of open banking-enabled services are typically lower in financial confidence than the population as a whole. This may in part be a function of age, however it does certainly suggest that open banking-enabled propositions are appealing to a broad range of consumers.

However, we did also note that those with lower financial confidence also tended to be more hesitant about continuing to use the service and less likely to recommend it. These consumers were also less convinced about the benefits of the services. This is a finding that we are keen to explore in more detail in subsequent reports.

We found that the open banking early adopters shopped around to a similar degree to the national average for products such as utilities and insurance.

8ONS, People Population and Community Data, see here

9Reynolds, F et al, Consumer Priorities for Open-Banking Report, June 2019.

Figure 18: Comparison of research sample with FCA Financial Lives benchmarks: Levels of confidence and shopping around

10FCA Financial Lives 2020. For financial confidence the question asked in Financial Lives and our survey were worded identically. For the shopping around question there are some differences. The FCA asked separately about shopping around for utilities and insurance, whereas our survey asked one question.

Attitude towards savings, borrowing and monthly bills

We also asked our sample about their level of savings, debt and how easy they found it to keep up with their household bills. See Figure 19.

Figure 19: Comparison of research sample with FCA Financial Lives benchmarks: Attitude towards level of savings and borrowing

It is not possible to directly benchmark using FCA data on these three measures. However, we do know from Financial Lives that 18% of the UK population had “low or erratic income or low savings” and that 7% were in financial difficulty because they had failed to pay domestic bills or meet credit commitments in three or more of the previous six months11

We can conclude that many of the early adopters of open banking-enabled services are worried about not having enough savings (43%), having too much debt (31%), and are struggling with monthly bills (18%). However, we note again that those customers who score lower on these measures also score comparatively lower on intention to continue to use and the extent to which they benefit from the services. This is a priority area for future exploration.

11Financial Lives, FCA, 2020

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