Results of a study on French banking behavior

The French Banking Federation (FBF) recently published the results of a study entitled "The French, their bank, their expectations". Conducted with the Institut français d'opinion publique (IFOP), this study analyzes French banking behavior, taking into account the impact of the health crisis.

Banks: characteristics of French customers

Carried out among 4,000 people, theFBF survey begins with a profile of the French banking customer.

65% of French people surveyed are customers of just one bank, 26% of 2 banks and 7% of 3 banks. In 81% of cases, the bank has both physical branches and an online presence, but 13% of those surveyed are customers of a bank with an exclusively online presence. 2% hold an account in a tobacconist's.

For customers of banks with physical branches, the frequency of visits is most often between 1 and 2 times a year (31%). They may even visit "less often" (19%), and only 9% visit several times a month. Among the latter, we find customers of all ages:

  • 9% are aged between 18 and 24,
  • 11% aged 25 to 34,
  • 10% aged 35 to 49,
  • 11% aged 50 to 64,
  • 7% are aged 65 and over.

54% of French bank customers surveyed have no credit, 29% have just one and 17% have several loans in repayment. The preferred method of contact is email with the advisor (41%), followed by the bank's website (37%), telephone (27%) and branch (25%).

The use of digital tools and the impact of the health crisis

The FBF study then reveals how French customers use the digital tools made available to them by banks.

95% of customers surveyed use at least one digital tool. For the over-35s, this tends to be the bank's website, while the under-35s prefer the app. 72% of those surveyed have downloaded at least one banking app, a share up 6 points on November 2020, and 17 points on November 2018.

Visits to the bank's website remain more stable over the years: 66% of customers consult their bank's website at least 1 time a week, a share identical to that observed in November 2020, and down 1 point compared with the end of 2018.

The website and the app are used for the same purposes: first and foremost, these 2 tools enable customers to monitor their accounts (57% on the website and 59% on the app), then control their budget (48% and 51% respectively) and manage their transactions (39% and 45%).

The health crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the use of digital tools, particularly banking applications. 28% of customers who had downloaded a banking application said that the health crisis had changed their use of this digital tool, a figure that rises to 30% for customers consulting their bank's website.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also contributed to the growth of contactless payment. 53% of those surveyed said they had paid more frequently and sustainably by contactless means than by entering their bankcard code since the limit was raised to 50 euros.


How do French banking customers perceive innovation?

The FBF study also looked at how French banking customers perceive innovations.

Contactless bankcard payment is the new banking service most familiar to the customers surveyed (93%), and also the one they trust most (74%).

Two other innovative services are well known to customers, but have yet to earn their trust:

  • contactless payment with the smartphone, which 88% of customers are familiar with and 49% trust;
  • online payment with the smartphone, familiar to 82% of French banking customers, and trusted by 52%.

82% of those surveyed recognize that banks are increasingly integrating new technologies, and 71% consider that they have evolved significantly over the last 10 years. Among the latter, and more particularly the over-25s (70% of the sample for this question), 79% consider that these developments are moving in the right direction.