JD Power: customer satisfaction with online-only banks declines

TROY—Driven by the prospect of higher interest rates, lower fees and around-the-clock access, new customers flocked to online-only direct banks during the past year. For the most part, the direct banks delivered on their end of the bargain. However, according to the recently released J.D. Power 2024 U.S. Direct Banking Satisfaction Study, struggles with customer service and timely problem resolution dragged down overall satisfaction scores.

“Customers of online-only direct banks have higher levels of satisfaction than customers of traditional banks, but satisfaction among direct bank customers declined this year, particularly those with checking accounts,” said Paul McAdam, senior director of banking and payments intelligence at J.D. Power. “Despite significant increases in deposit interest rates for both checking and savings accounts—but decreases in the proportion of customers who had to pay a fee or experienced a problem—overall satisfaction still declined. That’s because customers who experienced problems had a very tough time resolving them in a timely manner, causing satisfaction with the ease of problem resolution to decline sharply.”

Following are some key findings of the 2024 study:

* Satisfaction declines year over year, but still higher than traditional banks: The overall customer satisfaction score for direct bank checking accounts is 688 (on a 1,000-point scale), down 27 points from 2023. Overall satisfaction for direct bank savings accounts is 710, down 8 points from 2023.
* Problem resolution drags down customer satisfaction: While fewer problems were cited in this year’s study, the problems customers did experience were more complicated and took longer to resolve, causing satisfaction with the problem resolution process to fall 67 points. The total amount of time required to resolve a problem grew to 2.6 days in 2024, up from 1.9 days in 2023.
* Problems with debit cards and fraud mount: The most significant declines in problem resolution satisfaction are focused on problems with debit cards, fraud and unauthorized account activity and problems with interest rate paid on a deposit account. The number of customers indicating that it was convenient to reach and interact with live phone representatives declines 3 percentage points this year.
* Mobile apps and websites need a refresh: Use of mobile app and website features also declines this year. Even among customers who have not experienced a problem with their direct bank, the visual appeal, the range of services that can be performed and clarity of information provided via digital channels had significant declines.

Charles Schwab Bank ranks highest in overall satisfaction among checking providers with a score of 732, marking the sixth consecutive year of being top ranked in the study. Capital One (717) ranks second and Ally Bank (702) ranks third.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs ranks highest in overall satisfaction among savings providers with a score of 756. Ally Bank (743) ranks second and Capital One (730) ranks third.

See the rank chart for each segment at http://www.jdpower.com/pr-id/2024040.

The U.S. Direct Banking Satisfaction Study, now in its eighth year, measures overall satisfaction with direct bank and neobank checking and/or savings/money market products based on seven dimensions (in alphabetical order): customer service; ease of moving money; helps grow money; level of trust; managing account via mobile app; managing account via website; and reduce banking fees. The study defines direct banks as online/branchless institutions with federal banking charters, with either the Federal Reserve Board, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as their primary regulator. It is based on responses from 8,648 direct bank customers and was fielded from December 2023 through March 2024.

To learn more about the U.S. Direct Banking Satisfaction Study, visit https://www.jdpower.com/business/us-direct-banking-satisfaction-study.

J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services, and data and analytics. A pioneer in the use of big data, artificial intelligence and algorithmic modeling capabilities to understand consumer behavior, J.D. Power has been delivering incisive industry intelligence on customer interactions with brands and products for more than 55 years. The world’s leading businesses across major industries rely on J.D. Power to guide their customer-facing strategies.

J.D. Power has offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. To learn more about the company’s business offerings, visit JDPower.com/business. The J.D. Power auto-shopping tool can be found at JDPower.com.

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