Your next bank might just be Google(s goo) or Walmart(s wmt) if the younger generation of North American bread earners has anything to say about it. A recent survey conducted by Accenture (s acn) found that many people between the ages of 18 and 34 were amenable to the idea of doing their banking completely online as well as getting their financial services from non-traditional financial service providers.
PayPal (s ebay) was at the top of the list, with 46 percent of that age group saying they would be “likely” of “very likely” to bank with the eBay-owned company. That shouldn’t be too much of surprise since PayPal is already a dominant player in payment services. But Google, Amazon, (s amzn) Apple(s aapl) and Walmart rounded out the top 5 list of potential alternate banking providers – not the first companies you’d think of when opening a checking account.
Accenture’s poll of 3,846 bank customers in Canada and the U.S. found that we’re becoming much more comfortable with the idea of “branchless” banking where all transactions, from depositing checks to applying for loans, are conducted in the web browser, on the mobile phone or by telephone. When asked whether they would consider a branchless alternative when they next switched banks, 27 percent of those polled answered in the affirmative. Among the 18-34 demographic that number rose to 39 percent.
Of course, whether many of these companies would ever consider becoming banks is doubtful. They would be joining an industry much more heavily regulated than their own. I’m not sure if Google wants to add the Federal Deposit Insurance Coporation and Federal Reserve to its list of regulators.
Still for companies that are already getting heavily involved in their customers finances like PayPal, Walmart and even Amazon; banking might be the logical next step. One of the more interesting nuggets from Accenture’s report was about Square. While Square isn’t yet a well-known consumer brand, 50 percent of those polled that were familiar with Square – likely the small business owners that use its services — said they would bank with Square if they could.
Also being a virtual bank doesn’t necessarily require a company to become an actual bank. One of the more popular online banking services Simple doesn’t actually maintain any accounts. Rather it contracts out with Bancorp to and CBW Bank to hold its customers’ money – and deal with regulators – while Simple provides the front-end services.