Two-thirds of consumers still don’t trust online banking, despite branch closures forcing many to go digital according to new research by SmartSearch.

The research has found that since January 2015, banks and building societies have closed 3,770 branches in the UK leading to a seismic shift towards online banking. Yet, two thirds (66%) of the population do not trust that they are 100% safe to conduct all their banking needs online. 

 Banks’ own systems are extremely difficult for fraudsters to attack, but with a greater number of people now using online banking, criminals have turned to acquiring information directly from online banking customers. As a result of this, SmartSearch, an anti-money laundering (AML) software provider, has launched itTrust Barometer to explore public sentiment and trust towards online banking.  

 Trust is a huge factor in consumer decision making, with 93% of people saying online reviews impact their buying decisionsExploring this, SmartSearch’s Trust Barometer considers every tweet from the past 30 days that mentions bank’s Twitter handle, analysing the strength of sentiment towards the bank. This then gives an overall visual representation of public opinion towards each UK high street and challenger bank 

The live tool shows that at present, Natwest Group has the worst ratio of negative to positive tweets out of any UK high street or challenger bank, with 59% of tweets to their account being negative. The five banks with the greatest ratio of negative tweets are currently: 

  1. Natwest Group (59%) 

  1. Barclays (49%) 

  1. Lloyds Bank (45%) 

  1. Halifax (44%)HSBC UK (44%) 

  1. Revolut (37%), Standard Chartered (37%) 

 Conversely, digital-only challengers, Atom, Starling and Monzo have strong positive sentiment when compared with high street banks. The banks with the greatest ratio of positive tweets from the last 30 days are currently: 

  1. Atom Bank (96%) 

  1. Starling Bank (81%) 

  1. Handelsbanken (80%) 

  1. Nationwide (75%) 

  1. Monzo (73%) 

John Dobson, CEO at SmartSearch, said This year forced many of us to adapt to digital or automated services, but it seems consumer trust is lagging behind.   As anti-money laundering software providers we are aware of the threat of online fraudsters and the concern this gives consumers. Yet, with online banking here to stay, we hope our tool can help consumers looking to switch, open or continue to use online banking by providing live insight into public sentiment.”