Bank Customers Don’t Want Robots to Manage Money

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So-called robo-advisers have become a cheap alternative to humans who make investment decisions. It turns out that worldwide, bank customers do not like machines to invest their money.

In a new survey by bank ING with research firm Ipsos, titled “ING International Survey Mobile Banking 2017 – Newer Technologies,” the researchers found:

We defined a robo-adviser as a computer program that learns your preferences and invests money for you based on this information. We wanted to learn about attitudes to robo-advice. Nearly two in five (36%) in Europe do not want any automated financial activities. More than half say this in Luxembourg, Austria and France.

The U.S. number was 34%.

Out of all activities people were asked about, those surveyed were least comfortable with allowing automatic transfers of one or six months’ pay into investments. Only about a third are happy to automate savings transfers.

There is a gender and age gap when it comes to trusting technology for financial issues, according to the survey. Women are more likely to say they are “uncomfortable” letting a computer program do any of these tasks — especially investing. The gender gap here is about 10 percentage points.

Older people, too, are more likely to say they would be “uncomfortable.” Those over 65 are much likelier to cite discomfort with any of these activities.

The report discovered that men are more likely (20%) than women (12%) to say they would probably choose to seek advice using the internet and specialist websites

People across all countries surveyed preferred real human financial advisers. The number was 40% in Europe and 42% in the United States. In most countries, about 10% of people like to get their advice from friends and family.

Just over half of those surveyed in Europe and 65% of U.S. respondents use a smartphone for banking.

The primary reason people use remote devices for banking is convenience. However, many people believe mobile banking is not secure. Of the people who do not use mobile banking in Europe and the United States, 56% and 63%, respectively, “don’t trust the security.”

Even with the deluge of financial options online, the survey found that when asked which organizations they would prefer to go to for new products, most people in Europe, the USA and Australia still prefer their own bank.

Methodology: The survey was taken in 15 countries (Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States), with a sample size of 14,692, between February 7 and February 27.