(Yicai Global) Nov. 23 -- Just over half of Chinese bank customers use the third-party mobile payment systems WeChat and Alipay to manage their money, the latest research findings show.
A total of 50.5 percent of bank users opted to handle their money via WeChat and Alipay this year, up from 47.3 percent in 2017, according to a report published on Nov. 20, Chinese news media startup Jiemian reported.
Amid an increase in the number of bank customers using Tencent Holding's WeChat and Ant Financial's Alipay service for liquidity management, the proportion managing their money through traditional lenders fell 6.9 percentage points to 33.1 percent this year, the report shows.
Compiled by the Bank User Experience Joint Lab, a research group set up by Shenzhen Qianhai Weizhong Bank and Tencent Holdings' Customer Research & User Experience Design Center, the Bank User Experience Report 2018 focuses on the use of financial platforms in the new financial environment.
Bank users' preference for online platforms was also reflected in the choice of related services. Most conducted a number of financial matters through Alipay or WeChat, while their bank business was mainly confined to remittances and loans, the report reveals.
Bank customers prefer to buy wealth management products on internet platforms. In a survey giving multiple choices, almost 70 percent of respondents indicated that they used Alipay to buy WMPs; just over 45 percent used WeChat Wallet; and 40 percent favored bank channels, the report said.
The Bank User Experience Joint Lab also looked into the financial needs and behaviors of bank users, as well as the changes in their financial business needs.
The financial experience of interviewees was still relatively low, the report reveals. Sixty-two percent have managed finances for less than five years, while less than 30 percent believe they have a good grasp of financial know-how.
The report also indicates that many users started managing their finances with Alipay, which then helped them to get a sense for finance, suggesting that mobile platforms have a greater impact on financial awareness and behavior.
Most bank customers get their financial information from relatives and friends, accounting for 28 percent, followed by third-party WeChat public accounts, accounting for 26 percent. "Most of my financial management products are recommended by friends," said a native of Tianjin city, who was among those interviewed for the research.
More Conservative Approach
When it comes to financial management methods, bank users' were more cautious and conservative this year compared with 2017, with the popularity of stocks declining amid an increase in demand for instant-access bank deposits.
Instant-access and term deposits were still the top two most popular ways of managing money. Fund products, meanwhile, rose to third place this year from fourth in 2017, while stocks fell from third to fifth and insurance also dropped two places.
The Bank User Experience Joint Lab has conducted studies since 2015. It teamed up with 36 banks this year to conduct research in seven cities: Xi'an, Tianjin, Xinyang, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Beijing and Qiqihar. It released the report after receiving more than 13,000 valid responses over eight months.
Editor: Bivash Mukherjee