What Consumers Really Want from their Financial Providers: A 2023 Roadmap

MX’s latest research of 1,000 U.S. consumers provides financial institutions and fintechs with a roadmap to the features and functionality that consumers really want and expect from their financial providers.

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Consumer expectations and money worries are higher than ever across the United States. In fact, according to new research from MX, 22% of U.S. consumers are most worried about just paying for everyday necessities when asked what worries them most about their finances today, while one-third are most worried about paying for unexpected expenses or emergencies. 

It’s no longer enough for financial institutions and fintechs to provide basic account features and functionality. One in 4 consumers feel that financial providers don’t do enough to support their financial needs. This is even higher among Gen Z at nearly half (45%), compared to just 18% of Baby Boomers. Consumers want — and need — more. More personalized. More proactive. More connected. More data. 

MX’s latest research of 1,000 U.S. consumers provides financial institutions and fintechs with a roadmap to the features and functionality that consumers really want and expect from their financial providers. Here’s what consumers want from their financial providers: 

Better Money Management

When it comes to what consumers most want to help them manage financial accounts online or through a mobile app, here are the features that rose to the Top 3 most often: 

Money Management Gen Z

Money Management Millennials

Money Management Gen X

Money Management Boomer

The good news? The majority of respondents said they are satisfied with most key aspects of the financial account they use most often today. For instance, 85% of consumers agree they are satisfied with their ability to manage and view account activity and 63% agree they are satisfied with their overall mobile app experience. 

However, when asked if they would seek a new financial provider if their current provider couldn’t deliver on their most wanted features, 54% said it was likely they would do so. And, 60% of Gen Z and 63% of Millennials said they would do so. Financial institutions and fintechs need to make sure they’re adding digital features like instantly-issued virtual cards and digital wallet integration to the mix to keep consumers for the long term. 

Better Security and Control

The top features each generation wants most when it comes to the security and control of their financial accounts are:

Security Gen Z

Security Millennials

Security Gen X

Security Boomer

The survey also asked again about how often consumers see transactions on their account that they don’t recognize at first glance. Nearly 1 in 4 report this happens at least sometimes or more frequently, which remains consistent with our Consumer Money Matters report from August. This rises to 43% for Gen Z and 35% for Millennials (35%). We also asked what action they typically take when they see a transaction they don’t recognize. Overall, consumers most likely: 

Actions Taken for Unrecognized Transactions

That said, Gen Z is most likely to report an unrecognized transaction as fraud at 24%, compared to just 7% of Baby Boomers. And, they are just as likely to report as fraud vs. look at their receipts to figure it out. This is an important insight as financial institutions and fintechs deal with an increase in reported fraud. How many of those fraud reports are legitimate transactions made unclear by indecipherable transaction data?

Better Financial Wellness

Stronger financial wellness tools and insights could become a key differentiator in 2023 and beyond. Thirty-nine percent of consumers believe financial providers have a responsibility to teach them to be financially strong. Among Gen Z and Millennials, this jumps to 58% and 56% respectively, compared to 47% of Gen X and only 29% of Baby Boomers. 

And, when it comes to current satisfaction with the financial account they use most often, financial wellness-related features ranked the lowest in satisfaction numbers. Less than half were satisfied with insights and recommendations to help manage their money (48%), and budgeting and savings tools (48%). 

Here are the features that consumers most want for financial wellness: 

Financial Wellness Gen Z

Financial Wellness Millennials

Financial Wellness Gen X

Financial Wellness Baby Boomers

Further, 75% of consumers expect their financial provider to proactively alert them to issues related to their finances. And, when looking at individual features, the feature ranked No. 1 most often was the ability to see all of your accounts from various financial providers in one place (21%). 

Better Data Ownership

Nearly 40% of respondents have 3 to 5 financial accounts with various banks, credit unions, or other financial providers. So it’s no surprise that one of the features ranked in the Top 3 most critical by consumers is the ability to see and control who has access to their financial data (see table below). 

In addition, consumers overwhelmingly agree (89%) that they own their financial data and should be able to control who has access to it. While this is the case, more than half of consumers (55%) also agree that they aren’t sure what companies or providers have access to their financial data. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) prepares to formalize rulemaking under Dodd-Frank Act’s Section 1033, understanding and building the right framework for consumer data rights and sharing should be top of mind for financial institutions and fintechs. 

Additionally, 12% of consumers said the ability to connect outside financial accounts so they can see all of their data in one place was critical, with 53% calling it out as very important or important. At the same time, 64% of respondents agree that they expect to be able to see all of their financial data in one place. Among Gen Z, this jumps to 80% while 77% of Millennials agree. Previous research from MX also found that 72% said they would seek out a different bank or credit union if their preferred bank or credit union did not support connecting to their favorite fintech apps.

While seeing all of their financial data in one place is an expectation — and critical for some, only 7% of overall respondents indicated they have shared their financial data with a third party in the past 12 months. However, among Gen Z, this jumps to 15% and is 11% among Millennials. Similarly, only 8% indicated they have connected an outside account to see all transactions in one place. This is compared to 10% for  Gen Z and 15% for Millennials.

Manage Fraud Importance

Turn Card on off Importance

Ability to See Data Importance

A Call to Action

Now more than ever, financial institutions and fintechs have an opportunity to take a bigger role in the lives of consumers. The research clearly shows a desire and expectation for financial providers to do more. And, in today’s economic environment, now is the time.

By Gen Worries

By Gender Worries

By Region Worries

By Ethnicity Worries

Survey Methodology: This survey of nearly 1,000 American adults was conducted by MX in November 2022 using an online survey platform. Results are representative across U.S. regions and ethnicities., as well as evenly split between genders.