Despite predictions that ATMs and online banking would mean the end of branch offices, a new report finds that half of all Americans have used a bank branch within the last 30 days.
Among those under 30, the group most comfortable with operating online, 42 percent have been to a branch within the last 30 days, according personal finance site Bankrate.com. That is just 10 percent less than those over 50 and 8 percent lower than the overall average.
"The number and location of bank branches, as well as their functionality, will continue to evolve, but clearly they're not going away," Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com, said in a statement.
Interestingly, more education -- which generally corresponds with more Internet access and use -- meant more trips to the bank. Thirty-five percent of those with at least some college experience reported visiting the bank within the last week, compared with 21 percent who had a high school education or less.
This may be because income is so closely linked to education and also because there are generally fewer bank branches in poor and low-income neighborhoods. As a result, people in those neighborhoods rely more on check-cashing services and pay-day loan businesses, both of which charge more than standard banks, to handle their money.
Whatever the cause, people earning less money are making fewer trips to the bank. About 30 percent of those earning less than $30,000 a year said it had been more than a year since they last went to a bank. That's nearly twice as many as those earning $75,000 or more per year.
Separately, and with the economy still struggling to grow, the survey also sought to assess how people feel their finances. The Bankrate.com Financial Security Index was up 3 points in March to 102.2, compared to a month earlier (Readings above 100 indicate higher financial security than the previous year.) The latest numbers are the third-highest reading since the monthly polls started in 2010.
The index reflects what people report about their level of savings, debt, net worth, job security and overall financial situation. For the third consecutive month, all components except savings indicated improvement from a year earlier.
Twenty-seven percent of Americans reported a higher net worth than one year ago, while only 16 percent reported a lower net worth. Americans who say their financial situation had improved outnumbered those saying their financial situations have deteriorated by a three-to-two margin.
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