THE comfort of the couch is proving to be the most popular place that Australians do their banking.
It’s surpassed the old-school way many of us interacted with banks by visiting the local branch.
Instead, more Australians are relying on their phones and computers to manage their money.
New independent research commissioned by online-only bank ING found 56 per cent of Australians do their banking while watching the TV, followed by transacting while tucked up in bed (44 per cent), at work (43 per cent) or on public transport (29 per cent).
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Some are even leaving doing their banking to when they visit the smallest room in the house — about 20 per cent transact on the toilet.
ING head of digital and innovation Chris Barwick said the results proved “the living room has largely replaced the bank branch”.
He believes this had led to Australians becoming better money managers.
“Just one in five people choose to go into a physical branch,” Mr Barwick said.
“Digital banking has made Australians better savers and this is largely driven by the fact they can check their balance more frequently.”
The research found that anxiety around knowing whether you have enough money in the bank has been quashed in the past decade by being able to check balances easily with the click of a mouse or logging into a mobile app.
Bank branches and ATMs have continued to disappear, forcing more people to rely on interacting with their bank online or by phone.
News Corp Australia research found the big four banks closed 125 branches in the 12 months to May last year. And ATM numbers fell by 450 between September 2017 and May 2018.
The Australian Banking Association’s chief executive officer, Anna Bligh, said “the way Australians bank has changed dramatically over the last decade”.
“There is a growing number of bank customers whose first port of call is the internet or an app on their phone,” she said.
“Many may only ever visit a bank branch once or twice a year, if at all.”
The ING research also asked Australians what makes a good digital banking experience. A majority said simple and reliable technology (75 per cent), followed by using wearables (14 per cent), and being able to make payments via social media platforms. (13 per cent).