Consumers open to Google, Amazon and Facebook banking services: survey

REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Roughly one in three banking and insurance customers globally would consider switching their accounts to Google, Amazon or Facebook if the Silicon Valley giants offered financial services, according to a new survey on Wednesday.

The survey, conducted by consulting firm Accenture, found that among 32,715 people polled in 18 countries there was broad consumer demand for banks and insurance companies to use robo-advisory services, or software propelled by artificial intelligence or less human intervention.

In Brazil, 50% of respondents said they would be willing to switch their personal accounts. In Indonesia and Italy, 47% and 42% of respondents, respectively, said they would switch accounts.

But according to the survey, if the tech titans offered those services, 31% of global respondents would switch to Google, Amazon or Facebook for banking, and 29% would switch for insurance.

Already a trend in the wealth management industry, Wall Street banks and investment firms are increasingly building or buying so-called robo-advisers to provide automated investment advice through web-based platforms at a lower cost than traditional financial advisers.

“[Google, Amazon and Facebook] are setting the standards in terms of customer experience and personalisation,” said Piercarlo Gera, senior managing director at Accenture Financial Services. Consumers look at banks and see a gap, Gera said.

Google, Amazon and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

While none of these companies currently offer bank or insurance products, Google and Facebook allow users to send payments to their contacts online. Amazon has a limited service providing loans to small sellers that it selects.

It is unclear whether regulations in any of the countries in which the survey was conducted would allow these companies to have banking or insurance licenses.

The survey was conducted from May to June in 2016, and respondents were asked to answer questions online.

When it came to specific services, more than 7 in 10 respondents said they would use robo-advice to figure out what kind of bank account to open, and nearly 4 out of 5 said they would use it for investing.

But 68% of respondents said they did not want a robot handling customer complaints, and 61% said they would prefer a human over an automated system for advice about complex products like mortgages.

Accenture launched a partnership with Google in September for cloud, mobility and analytic strategies to clients in retail, healthcare, consumer products, energy and finance.

(Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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