Fintech & Ecommerce

Customer Demand for Sustainability Banking Tools Far Exceeds Supply: Research

Almost 40% of UK citizens would like their financial institution to offer banking tools to track their sustainability impact

Customer Demand for Sustainability Banking Tools Far Exceeds Supply: Research

UK-based open banking platform Tink has published a research based on a survey of over 2,000 UK consumers and 113 senior retail banking executives, highlighting the opportunity for banks to play a bigger role in helping customers on their sustainability journey.

The study discovered that an estimated 37% of people in the UK would prefer their bank to offer more tools to track their environmental impact. More specifically, 32% of respondents would like their bank to provide an overview of their CO2 emissions. Ideally, they would want to see such data collected from transactions across all their bank accounts and analysed all in one place.

Paradoxical as it may seem, despite the growing demand for sustainability-linked banking tools, research finds just 17% of banking customers are actively using the existing environmental impact tracking tools. A gap between appetite for and adoption of the available sustainability related services may appear for many reasons ranging from poor service quality to lack of awareness.

“For the forward-thinking banks who are already offering carbon tracking tools, now is the time to ramp up customer engagement to ensure people know how to easily access these tools. Those who do will be in a strong position to deliver on expectations and win loyalty from both existing and new customers,” says Tasha Chouhan, UK & IE Banking Director at Tink.

However, the survey among banking executives suggest another explanation for this mismatch. It revealed that only 24% of banks are currently offering customers tools to help them understand their carbon footprint based on their spending data. Fortunately, further 40% of banks report they are currently working on such customer services.

Half of them say they are partnering with a fintech to develop a sustainability banking tool. At the same time, a large 30% portion of the surveyed bank executives currently have no plans to offer tools to help customers track their carbon impact, although they do like the idea.

The responses regarding investment in the sustainability-focused financial technologies are also controversial. On one hand, 51% of banks are planning to maintain investment or invest more in sustainability related tools for customers. Nevertheless, almost the same number of banks (46%) are planning to invest in carbon tracking tools less or stop investing altogether.

Therefore, the research concluded that those financial institutions which do not prioritise their sustainability offering risk becoming less competitive compared to banks who are already delivering carbon tracking tools to their customers, since 28% of customers say they would switch to a different bank if it allowed them to see the environmental impact of their purchases.

This suggestion aligns with more general earlier findings of AmEx which discovered that almost 80% of UK consumers want retail companies to educate them on ways to reduce their carbon footprint when shopping with them. Furthermore, 82% of respondents are looking for companies to provide options to offset carbon emissions associated with their purchases.

Nina Bobro

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Nina is passionate about financial technologies and environmental issues, reporting on the industry news and the most exciting projects that build their offerings around the intersection of fintech and sustainability.