For its Global Financial Services Consumer Study, Accenture found that nearly 60% of Australians would be willing to share their personal data with banks and insurers if it means they can get lower prices.

But 76% of Aussies were said to be very cautious about the privacy of their data.

The study also found that a third (33%) of Aussie respondents reported losing trust in their banks over the past 12 months, quite possibly a result of the banking royal commission.

Comparatively, other countries’ banks fared a lot better – only 13% of people in the US reported lower trust in their banks over the same time period, while Singapore and China reported 8% and 5% respectively.

Other recent surveys from the likes of Deloitte and ME in recent months paint a similar picture in Australia:

  • According to Deloitte, only 26% of people trust their banks in general
  • According to ME, 94% of people feel banks don’t act in their best interest

Data and trust are key topics of conversation in the financial services industry at the moment amid the fallout of the banking royal commission and the introduction of open banking.

As of July 1 2019, customers of the big four banks will be able to ask their banks to share their data with other banks, which could help them to switch banks, get more personalised service or find better value products.

Alex Trott, banking lead for Accenture Australia and New Zealand, told open banking is important for banks given the low levels of trust at the moment.

“Open banking is a major opportunity for the banks to regain lost trust, by providing seamless and valuable customer experiences through digital banking channels,” Mr Trott said.

“Customers will not get excited about open banking per se, rather in the new, personalised services that leverage their data.

“The more individualised that these services and products are, the greater the take-up will be.”

“It’s clear from our research that although customers are increasingly comfortable with sharing data in return for better services, products and pricing, there are still concerns around the security of their data,” Mr Trott said.

“When implementing the open banking framework, they must feel that their data is protected and the safeguards exist, which will absolutely be a priority for the banks.”

Bank branches still going strong

Despite the popularity of online banking, the introduction of open banking and the willingness of Australians to share their data, in-person banking at branches isn’t dead yet.

According to Accenture’s report, 14% of Australians surveyed still visit a bank branch at least once a week, while 62% of those who visit branches reported having positive experiences.

For reference, this is higher than the 57% global average.

56% of Australian respondents still check their bank accounts on digital devices at least once a week, but 59% still prefer face-to-face interactions.

The solution, according to Mr Trott, is for branches and digital services to come together, which is something 56% of respondents want.

“In the future we do not believe that customers will use branches for simple transactions that can be done on mobile or online, such as changing personal details or buying simple products – the number of branch transactions will also reduce as cash use further declines,” he said.

“However the need for more complex or advisory type conversations where customers do want to speak to a person will shape the future of branches – these branch staff will be enabled by digital data and new levels of insights into the customer.”

This, according to Mr Trott, will enable more tailored advice to be given to individuals in person.