While Americans consider themselves knowledgeable when it comes to financial matters, certain topics pose challenges and certain audiences feel less confident, according to a new report from Dentsu Americas.
Investing, planning for retirement and optimizing fees are financial topics that consumers feel less confident about, per the report.
The company’s survey found women and Gen Z are less likely to consider themselves knowledgeable, while Black Americans and millennials are more likely to feel confident.
Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Capital One and JP Morgan Chase are the most known and used financial institutions, according to the report.
Almost two in five consumers think the U.S. government doesn’t do enough to regulate financial institutions. Boomers and women are most likely to concur.
Consumers say they prefer to consolidate their financial relationships, but in reality, are adding more, the report found. Three quarters of Americans would prefer to consolidate their financial service relationships with fewer financial service providers. Yet, over a third report adding a new relationship in the last 12 months, particularly Gen Z and millennials.
While openness to using digital banks is prevalent, one in three customers visit a physical location at least once a week. The reason: Customers are more comfortable seeking human interactions for complex needs.
Consumers prefer to only hold a few insurance relationships, mirroring their preferences in finance. Lower household income consumers are less likely to be insured, while those with higher incomes are significantly more likely to hold multiple insurance relationships – they are more likely to have a life insurance, home insurance, and auto insurance policy.
While trading has become mainstream, lower income households and women still face barriers to investing. Forty percent of lower income consumers and 37% of women say they do not hold any investments, compared to 28% of the general population.
Women are also more likely to report managing any investments they do have on their own, instead of using a service or advisor, which the study surmises may be due to fears about discrimination.
Among the implications for marketers, per the report, is that pricing is a big issue. Three quarters of consumers believe financial services in the U.S. are overpriced. “Lowering fees and rates can be a powerful strategy to attract a broader customer base,” the report concludes.
Also, since consumers prefer having fewer banking relationships, banks offering a variety of programs is recommended. That said, “At the end of the day, checking and savings accounts are the most frequently used services at primary banks and more competitive rates for these services is likely to lead to switching.”
A third of financial institutions’ customers cite reading educational articles as a reason for online banking. The Dentsu study study shows that millennials and Gen Z are more open to having relationships with purely digital banks. Seeing that the latter feel less secure in their understanding of financial matters, building a robust educational library can be a strong differentiator.