Americans leaving information on the table when choosing a bank

By Sabrina Karl

In today’s world of ever-increasing digital information, checking other buyers’ reviews is an easy way to inform our own consumer choices. But new survey data shows that while Americans are pretty savvy at utilizing reviews for choosing a restaurant or hotel, they’re rarely tapping this guidance in deciding where to bank.


The online survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Ally Bank asked approximately 2,000 U.S. banking consumers how much they considered reviews when choosing their financial institution, as well as how much reviews played into their decision-making on other fronts.


They found that almost 9 in 10 (87 percent) said checking online reviews and ratings before buying a product or service was at least somewhat important, and 78 percent indicated they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.


Yet, when it came to banks and financial institutions, only 3 in 10 Americans (31 percent) said they had used online reviews to choose a financial provider in the previous year.


Even worse, 15 percent reported they didn’t know reviews of banks and financial institutions existed, and a full quarter (25 percent) said even though reviews were available, they opted not to check them.


Compare that to other common consumer decisions, where a much heftier half of survey respondents relied on reviews to choose a restaurant (53 percent) or a hotel (49 percent). Choosing a vacation spot also beat out checking bank reviews, with 36 percent of consumers reporting they had considered reviews in their travel decision.


"People seek advice online for a number of daily purchases but accept the status quo when it comes to banking," said Diane Morais, president of consumer and commercial banking products at Ally Bank. "They can and should expect more from their bank just like they do for other purchases.”