Credit unions and other financial institutions have a huge opportunity to add members if they offer products and services that help people take better control of their finances, according to a quarterly Fiserv/Harris Poll survey of 3,050 U.S. adults.

When it comes to digital products such as digital wallets and mobile payments, overall adoption remains modest, Fiserv said in a statement, but noted “there is a strong indication of interest among millennials and affluent households” for those products. 

The survey, conducted over a two-week period last fall, found that 45% of consumers agree time spent thinking about managing their money is a chore and 60% view financial management as a “have to do” rather than a “want to do.” One-quarter said they feel lost when trying to manage household expenses, and 48% admitted they don’t have anyone to rely on for advice on managing their finances.

That gives financial institutions a big opening, according to Fiserv.

“Fifty-three percent of consumers view financial institutions as partners in managing their finances, indicating that banks and credit unions have an opportunity to fill this gap,” it said.

Formerly the Fiserv Consumer Trends Survey, Expectations & Experiences, the survey was conducted online in the United States between Oct. 22 and Nov. 4 among 3,050 U.S. adults ages 18 and older who are part of a household that currently has a checking account with a bank, credit union, brokerage firm or other financial organization, and who have at least some level of involvement in managing their household finances. The survey was weighted on multiple measures, including income, to match the general demographics of the U.S. as measured by the Census Bureau.

Many consumers like their financial institutions, the survey found. On a scale of zero to 10, 76% gave their primary bank or credit union at least an eight, and more than one-quarter rated their primary financial institution a perfect 10. According to the survey, 52% have had an account with their primary financial institution for a decade or more.

Consumers are less thrilled about their own financial management skills, however. On average, the respondents gave themselves a B for their short-term money skills such as paying bills or sticking to a budget. They only gave themselves a C+ when it comes to long-term skills such as saving for college or retirement.

But given that consumers have relationships with an average of 3.7 financial organizations, according to the survey, there’s plenty of competition for their attention.

“Very rarely do households use a one stop shop approach to financial management, wherein they rely on only one institution to satisfy all their financial needs,” Fiserv said. “Working with multiple institutions generally reflects a focused strategy intended to maximize rewards, rates and results.”

However, the survey respondents did identify some financial management products and services that may make members more likely to stick around:

  • Three out of four households (more, if they’re millennials) want real-time balances on all accounts;
  • Seventy-two percent want instant posting of transactions;
  • Twenty-eight percent said real-time access is the most helpful resource for managing finances;
  • Twenty-five percent said managing all accounts from different financial institutions with a single online location or app was most helpful for managing finances;
  • Twenty-four percent would like a single directory of all financial institutions and people with whom they could regularly move funds; and
  • Forty-eight percent are interested in a “name your price” tool where they could customize their desired outcome.

— Check out Overcoming the Fear of Advisors on ThinkAdvisor.