Would you bank with Facebook or Google?

Google bitcoin machine

The world of banking is set for rapid change, with new research revealing just how keen consumers are to use new technology like wearables and cryptocurrencies for payments – and some folks would be prepared to do their online banking with the likes of Facebook or Google.

A study from Fujitsu (taking in the opinions of 7,000 European consumers) highlighted the generally progressive attitude of banking and insurance customers. While 44% of respondents said they still used cash on a daily basis, many are shifting to modern payment methods, with 32% using their mobile device to pay for goods or services, and 22% using wearables.

One in five of those surveyed said they used cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, and these were particularly strong in Eastern Europe where 44% of respondents said they used virtual currencies.

But perhaps most strikingly – and worrying for the financial services industry – a fifth of consumers said they would be prepared to use Facebook, Google or Amazon to buy banking or insurance services.

On the flipside, respondents also said they would be prepared to buy more services from banks and insurance providers – a third said they would consider going with a bank for energy services, and 30% said they would do so for broadband.

Cutting-edge or bust

Whatever happens in the future, customers are definitely expecting their bank to keep fully up-to-date with technology and new payment methods – if they fail to do so, 37% said they'd consider leaving their banking or insurance provider.

Francois Fleutiaux, Senior Vice President and Head of Sales, EMEIA, Fujitsu, commented: "Today's customers are no longer guarded. When it makes interaction more convenient they are willing to embrace innovation. They may not know where they need it until it is offered, but this is where technology comes to the fore – it is the engine that is driving consumer expectations forward and the financial services sector has to live up to this new pace of change."

Fujitsu's survey also found that many consumers were happy to allow their bank to use their data to recommend relevant services – 47% of respondents in fact, a surprisingly high figure. And the majority, 59%, said they'd be happy for their bank to use their data to lower their mortgage premium.

So clearly, if savings are to be had, then data is definitely up for grabs for a lot of people.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).