Digital Banking Customer Survey 2023

Banks can better support customers, increase loyalty and drive growth with GFT’s digital transition planning. 

As we enter the second half of 2023, Banks continue to face important investment decisions for both their digital and physical infrastructure. What investments will best support their customers, drive growth, and increase customer loyalty? An important starting point is understanding customer expectations, so to help Canada’s banking executives in making their decisions, GFT surveyed 1,500 Canadians on their knowledge and perceptions of digital banking. 

The findings 

At the top level, the news was largely positive. The survey found that the vast majority of Canadians are comfortable and satisfied using the digital banking services offered by their bank, including self-serve tools and chatbots, with 80 percent agreeing that that digital banking saves them time.  

However, digging a bit deeper into the data shows that digital tools are only being used to a fraction of their potential. While Canadians regularly use digital tools for day-to-day banking tasks, they quickly revert to physical branches or phone calls for more complicated tasks, and very few customers are comfortable using multiple channels to complete a single banking task.  

It is clear that both digital banking services and education have to improve for Canadians to move past day to day banking and consider using digital services to their full capacity. The benefits of a greater shift to digital would include personalized advice and significant time savings for customers, as well as greater efficiency and improved customer insights for banks.  

Getting there won’t necessarily be easy though – there are many challenges to improving, and maintaining digital services. A bank is like a large ship – strong and confidently sailing along its course – however not particularly agile. When the crew is suddenly tasked with implementing a new tool or resource within the suite of digital banking services, it can feel like a long and arduous process of trying to turn the ship in another direction.  

The lessons 

As banks contemplate this turn, here are some of the key takeaways from our Digital Banking Survey:  

Time to go beyond the basics. While Canadians are comfortable with basic digital banking, they’re not unlocking its full potential. Banks must provide better advice and insights through digital channels, and help customers become comfortable with these capabilities. 48% of Canadians agree that banks could be doing a better job of giving their customers advice. 

Open Banking needs to come with benefits. Canadians agree with the general idea of centrally available data and trust their banks to manage their personal data. There is some hesitancy in sharing data in older generations, however younger customers are more willing for their banks to share their data – if they receive benefits, like saving money or receiving personalized advice on services in return. It’s a matter of defining the use cases that provide real tangible benefits and the internal discussions that must happen to be prepared.  

Reimagine the role of the branch. While Canadians use digital banking for daily tasks, they still value the branch and phone calls for non-transactional tasks. Banks need to consider how they can augment their digital options to show real value through personalized advice and recommendations. Until that happens investments in branch and telephone services will need to remain high to meet the needs of customers. Branches should become less transactional and acquire an advisory role, as they have in many countries already. There are also strategies to get people out of the branch, such as service fees or rebates, depending on the channel used to connect with the bank.  

Perspectives from a New Generation 

Around the world, banks are responding to changing consumer expectations around digital banking, particularly for younger consumers. Our survey showed this is true in Canada as well, with younger generations (e.g., Gen Z and Millennials) more likely to use digital banking tools for more complicated and advice-related tasks, compared to older Canadians (e.g., Boomers and the Silent generation).  

Banks need to be introducing these value-added digital banking tools and capabilities to their younger customers, both to build on those habits and show them that banks can meet their digital expectations.  

GFT’s recommendations 

Banks need to consider both business and IT needs as they start their transition journey, and GFT has identified 5 of the most important considerations.   

Infrastructure and legacy systems modernization. Major investments are needed to modernize banks’ digital capabilities. This change requires a clear financial commitment from the organization as well as a clear business case to be realized. 

Operational plan.  Providing digital banking services is not only about the Front end solutions, but also about making sure that the quality of services provided is met, so the operational plans play a key role in putting things to work efficiently.  

Strategic partnerships. Banks need to join forces with partners such as specialized companies, solution providers or FinTech to enhance their digital service offering and their time to market. 

Cybersecurity. 64% of Canadians trust their bank to manage their personal data. Maintaining, and increasing, this trust is crucial – and requires investments in cybersecurity.  

Communication. Banks need to communicate the benefits and advantages of digital banking to their customers, who are interested but still cautious about these services.  

GFT has helped banks around the world with their digital banking transformations. For our Canadian clients, we can bring together a team of experts from our international centres of excellence, and combine them with our skilled Canadian team, who understands the domestic market, regulations and customer expectations.
here to see the full 2023 digital banking report.  


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