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5 Banking Services That Will Be Obsolete in 10 Years

banking services

To the average person, there is nothing especially interesting about a bank. Like the post office or DMV, banks are often considered important institutions we rely on, but not exactly our favorite places to visit. Despite its mundane veneer, however, the banking industry is quietly undergoing a radical transformation, and how you interact with your bank or credit union will be dramatically impacted.

John Cooke of BankFive in Fall River, Mass., told GOBankingRates that in the next 10 years, “most delivery channels will be moving into the digital realm, especially paper-based account services such as paper checks, paper statements, passbook accounts, etc.”

Additionally, as more transactions are completed via debit, mobile and person-to-person (P2P) payment apps, Cooke said these technologies will replace many services commonly performed in-branch.

“These trends won’t just be adopted for urbanites,” he added. “As branches consolidate in the U.S., more rural areas may be located further from local branches. Their reliance on such technology will be crucial for everyday banking.”

So what does this mean for the future of banking? The emergence of cost-effective, convenient digital services combined with shrinking branch numbers will contribute to the extinction of several common banking services over the next several years.

5 Banking Services About to Disappear

1. In-Branch Services

Banks and branches have always gone hand-in-hand, but the traditional, brick-and-mortar bank branch is beginning to die off.

Ken LaRoe, CEO of First Green Bank, explained, “With the ability of bank customers to deposit checks with the click of a button on their smartphone, transfer money between accounts and monitor all of their account activity online less and less, fewer customers are actually stepping foot in traditional bank branches every year.”

bank branches

According to the The Wall Street Journal, the number of U.S. bank branches has steadily declined since 2009, with banks cutting a net 1,487 branch locations in 2013 alone.

“While online banking still seems foreign to the older demographic today, in 10 years this will not be the case. The younger demographic already appreciates the convenience of online banking, and the transition of not physically being able to go to a bank building will not be a problem. As it is today, our smartphones allow us to virtually walk around with a bank in our pocket,” LaRoe concluded.

2. Check Writing and Cashing

A February 2014 poll conducted by GOBankingRates found that 38 percent of respondents never write a check, while just over 16 percent reported they only write a personal check once a month (see the full poll results here).

Greg Meyer, community relations manager for Meriwest Credit Union, explained, “With the proliferation of online banking and chipped debit cards, there will be a further reduction of printed checks being used to pay for items.”

Meyer projected that online banking bill pay, mobile wallets such as Amex Isis and Google Wallet, as well as P2P systems will eventually replace checks, noting that less than 7 percent of banking transactions today involve a paper personal check. “Many credit unions are already offering a type of P2P payment system for their members,” Meyer noted.

3. Paper of Any Kind

Paper is not only less convenient than digital options, it’s wasteful and costly for both financial institutions and customers. From deposit slips to paper statements, to any type of “snail mail” correspondence, banks and credit unions are looking for ways to cut any and every paper-based service in favor of online and mobile options.

In fact, Meyer predicted even paper loan applications will likely be gone in 10 years as well. “All borrowing will be applied for online,” he said. “When getting a home loan, for instance, the realtor or mortgage rep will play the role of the project manager, ensuring that property appraisals, inspections, applications and documentation gets to the right online place at the right time in order to facilitate the closing of the deal.”

The move from paper to online communication, transactions and applications helps eliminate the costs associated with printing and postage, as well as streamlines day-to-day banking operations. Soon enough, bank customers won’t see a single sheet.

4. Traditional Bank Tellers

Today’s tellers facilitate in-branch services like deposits, withdrawals and other basic needs of customers. They’re by no means financial experts, existing to help customers with basic banking activities. However, as the number of physical bank branches declines and simple transactions move online, the role of the teller in financial institutions will shift.

bank tellers

“Overall, tellers will see their job description drastically change, as the number of customers actually stepping foot in the bank continues to decline,” LaRoe said. “Over the course of the next 10 years, the role of the teller will dramatically change and ultimately morph into an all-encompassing hub of information and knowledge for bank customers.”

5. Face-to-Face Asset Management

Most banks and credit unions offer asset management services in addition to basic accounts and loans. Traditionally, asset management clients meet with a financial planner to discuss their financial situations in depth and plan a road map for the future. This in-person service is likely to disappear along with most other face-to-face communications.

Simon Moore, CFA and chief investment officer for FutureAdvisor, said “One change we see coming for banking is the rise of digital asset management. Whereas previously you may have spoken to a private banker to manage your portfolio, you can now have it done and implemented online.”

Although this shift might be unsettling to many bank customers, the benefits are clear. “This saves you both time and money … with costs being a third to a quarter of traditional asset management,” Moore said. He added that the service asset management clients receive is often actually better, “as the portfolio can be constantly monitored by algorithms for opportunities for things like tax-loss harvesting.”

Additionally, Moore pointed out that banks will be able to take on clients with smaller portfolios thanks to the greater savings and efficiency of moving online, opening up the opportunity to receive affordable financial planning from a professional.

As Mary Shelley famously wrote, “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” Indeed, these coming shifts in how we interact with financial institutions will likely be met with resistance by many. But those who accept change in the banking industry and adopt new technologies will be the first to reap their benefits.

Photo: Chachi and Alexis Kruel

Share This Article

  • Ted G.

    Will physical bank buildings really disappear? That sounds so impersonal…I like walking into a branch.

    • Angelo_Frank

      Perhaps the biggest and oldest ones will be museums.

      • 18235

        one bank in my hick town is now a restaurant….another became a bar, with the bar having the big outside stone columns you’d expect to see for an old bank.

    • http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/01/the-chinese-century-is-a-myth.html AmericanMillennium

      Well since ownership of precious metals has sky rocketed those small town banks with vaults with 1 ton doors and safety deposit boxes might come in useful.

    • Ed Budman

      There will always be a competitive bank that sticks with brick and mortar buildings. In the future, they will be the bank that gets my business.

    • Karen Belter

      for complicated business, there should always be some advisors on site.

      • Peter Field

        Even for “basic problems such as “bank errors” it is best to talk face to face!

    • John Hillman

      The smaller locations inside other buildings and businesses are the future. Almost every grocery store near me has a bank “branch” in it. The grocery store I to to has a staff of 5 or 6 most of the time.

    • Alouisis1

      Banks tried this several years ago attempting to rely on in store banking and ATMs. The result was a loss of business to security brokerages, credit unions, and other alternatives – leading to the reintroduction of stand alone branches.

  • Another commenter

    Online banking services are the hardest on lower income people. The confusing array of rules regarding deposits, withdrawals, automatic bill paying and such make it more difficult for the poor or the naive to keep track of the money they have and causes them to incur increasing fees that further push them back into poverty. The luckiest people to embrace online banking features are those who are not forced to wait for a check to clear before they can pay bills. The alternate banking services for the poor consist mainly of storefront paycheck loan businesses that prey on the naive and undereducated. Meanwhile the more you do yourself as a customer, the less the bank does and the higher their fees.

    • http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/01/the-chinese-century-is-a-myth.html AmericanMillennium

      Walmart cashes checks under 1K for .50 cents to a couple bucks. They have the load your own VISA cards you can recharge for 4$ a pop. They are in every state and city greater than 15K.

      I bank with the largest bank in the world and with their online banking app it takes 2-3 days for bonus checks to clear.

      Don’t think people with money don’t have the same issues.

      I go use Walmart money center because it’s cheap and convenient.

      Walmart money order .70 cents!

      So I use the big banking services but I also utilize Walmart. It’s always good to have back up plans with your cash.

      • Another commenter

        So out of your $1000 besides paying bills, you have to pay something like .5 to a couple of bucks. Then you load a Visa card for four bucks? That $4.50 is a lot of money to be giving away when you only make $1000.

        • 18235

          I’m poor—and I have a reloadable American express card from walmart, that doesn’t charge for re-loads, or a monthly fee…I’m still wondering how American express does it.

          • http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/01/the-chinese-century-is-a-myth.html AmericanMillennium

            Really? I’ll check that out thank you.

          • 18235

            you’re welcome.
            days ago, I reloaded a whole 10 dollars onto my American express/walmart card—-with no fees to do so.

          • bilgeez

            fees they charge to credit customers and Forex trading

          • 18235

            so, the well-off pay for the poor’s “free lunch”?

        • Peter

          I have a net spend card, META BANK – reloadable, they charge me $1 whenever i pay something with card and charge me $2.50 whenever I use ATM (not counting the ATM fee, since officially META BANK does not have any ATM (they rent them to gasoline stations, liquer stores etc) So if I just get want to get my salary for every $300 (which is maximum I can withdraw) so I pay $ 5.50 + what comes to about $50/month. I cannot use regular bank or savings union because Wells Fargo and BofA ripped me off whith fees I did not want to pay… Now they are telling us that this is progress. Do not make me laugh !

          • Dennis

            Sounds like you made some poor decisions and have either bad credit or a record with Chexx service that the banks uses. It’s pretty easy to clear those up, FYI. I had issues with it when I was younger but have since cleared them up and use regular local credit unions.

      • Sharon

        In some Walmarts, the money order fee is 55 cents.

    • Belial Issimo

      1. Why do you believe that the poor are stupid? A person may be poor but he has no less capacity to keep track of his money than a rich man – and far more incentive. And there are plenty of rich people who have no capability – and in many cases no interest – in keeping track of their bank balance. Many of them exclusively use debit cards, one of the most insidious and dangerous means of money transfer there is.

      2. Storefront payday loan businesses don’t “prey” on anyone; they offer a service that is useful and needed to many people. Numerous studies have shown that payday loan usage is a rational economic decision for some people, and that the overregulation or lack of such services causes greater economic distress to them than they are already subject to. Here are a couple of links on that point:

      http://mercatus.org/publication/case-against-new-restrictions-payday-lending

      http://www.law.gmu.edu/assets/files/publications/working_papers/1366.pdf

    • Peter Georgevic

      Maybe the naive should start making an effort to get educated, I am so sick of hearing how people are being taken advantage of well basically because they claim to be stupid, no other word for it.

      • Peter

        my dear friend… the education is in shambles, state is in biggest crisis since 1792, schools are not teaching creative thinking but blind obedience. 30 years ago it was enough to have high school not to be poor through life. Now the value of work went so much low that you must have at least bachelor’s degree to make semi decent life.
        Immigrants have made gains across the labor market, including
        lower-skilled jobs such as maintenance, construction, and food service;
        middle-skilled jobs like office support and health care support; and
        high­er-skilled jobs, including management, computers, and health care
        practitioners.The supply of potential workers is enormous: 8.7 million native college
        graduates are not working, as are 17 million with some college, and 25.3
        million with no more than a high school education.
        So please GET REAL we are going down as sure as TITANIC did.

    • 18235

      low income people don’t have the couple hundred dollars minimum that must be kept in the typical bank—or otherwise be charged ten dollars a month for the under the minimum amount they do have in the bank.

      even in my hick town, there are now two check cashing businesses.

      • bilgeez

        i have cap one checking acct and I have NO minimum, I pay no fees, I even get paid interest! I only had to have $25 initial deposit, who cant afford that? even welfare bums can scrape up 25 bucks unless they are a huge crackhead!

        • 18235

          yes, too many welfare bums are also crackheads.

          I’m glad my bank went from “bank of America” to a local bank, when I had 7 dollars in my savings at one point….bank of America used to charge 3 dollars just to use THEIR OWN atm, after 3 free uses per month, despite having a savings account with them.

          • Dennis

            Not saying it is right but most banks charge you fees unless you have a CHECKING account with them.

      • RadicalCenter

        They find the money for cable / satellite TV, though, don’t they? And cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, smartphones, lottery, etc.

        Give me a f—– break claiming that “the poor” don’t have enough money to open a bank account. Most people even with low incomes have enough to open a bank account if they don’t waste it on vices and luxuries like those listed above.

        Try and tell me that low-income people don’t, in fact, spend vast sums on everything I listed above, proportionally much more than higher-income earners.

    • bilgeez

      Wait for what? my checks I deposit remotely, online w Capital One clear in two days, the funds are in my account. If someone cant wait 2 days to pay a bill, they need some serious money management counseling! there is no excuse for educating oneself. Schools need to teach more life skills and less sex skills or empathy for homos!

    • Peter Field

      Bank make a significant number of errors for the “auto-bill pay.” I stopped using those services because of that. There were constant double payments and even triple payments that caused account problems. I will keep track of my own bills – thank you!

  • http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/01/the-chinese-century-is-a-myth.html AmericanMillennium

    The baby boomers and their parents aren’t largely familiar with online banking and they are the millionaires of our society. Life expectancy is around 76 and people with money it’s closer to 80.

    We will have banks for the next several decades. Rich people live long and money talks.

    There will ALWAYS be some sort of brick and mortar facility in towns over 8K.

    The brick and mortar will reinvent itself.

    First financial just bought out Bank of America in the Midwest and they are currently renovating and building new banks in hundreds of locations.

    I think they know something we might not. Why would they go all in on a dying business?

    • tanstagcopc

      The writer of this article forgets that Asset Management is a relationship-driven service. And most relationships are better managed with face-time, not computer time.

      Lack of personal interaction turns out to be one of the biggest complaints about the banks that have tried to do away with it.

  • J2

    If physical bank branches are going to disappear, then why are new bank branches being built in my area at a furious pace? Most notably Wells Fargo and Chase bank (Bank of America, of course, just merged with all the existing bank branches).

    • bisquitbrain

      To get new customers. You must be living in a high growth area.

      • 18235

        two banks in my rural slum closed, with new banks opening on the highway outside of my hick town, and one bank now located in the grocery store of the strip mall outside my hick town.

        • bisquitbrain

          Ha, I am looking for a nice rural slum to retire to. All this nonsense makes me want to live like a hermit in a small town with a few nice neighbors. All if need is a bigger fridge, and the necessary security equipment.

          • 18235

            nice neighbors in my town is debatable, along with neighbors with teeth…though, yeah to necessary security;)

  • Susie Adamson

    Question !: what makes you think everyone has or WANTS a computer?
    Question2: with computer- hacking increasing by the day, why would anyone in their right mind want all of their financial information on the internet?
    Nice way for the government to snoop into everything you do, isn’t it? Not me. My computer is going bye-bye. Give me what has worked for years, not more intrusion.

    • John Hillman

      Bet you said you would never have a credit card too. They do not care what YOU, as an individual, want. I am 71. I have not written a check in over 20 years. I do not even HAVE any checks.

      • Peter Field

        I had several credit cards, now I am 71 almost 72 and I got rid of them all and do only cash transactions! I am much better off and I do not miss them in the least!

        • John Hillman

          We are about the same age and have the same thoughts.

      • I’mGoofey2

        I think I felt that way when I was your age. They canceled my CC
        because I wouldn’t use it…. or because I didn’t have any money.
        I haven’t worked in over 30 years. I don’t think it was bushes fault.
        You have to learn to live without money, leadership.or a spouse.

    • MiMiLL

      The government wants to know EVERYTHING about EVERYONE*****this is one way to do it.

  • thelantern

    With luck at my age I’l be dead before then. I pay extra now for paying by check, but I will continue to do so. I remember when we bought our Buick and paid cash for it (less the tradein on our old car) and we got “free” ON Star for a year. Never used it, but we called to enquire about keeping it. Gotta pay by credit card only. No way. We don’t own a credit card. Cash, or check. That’s it. Besides, I will not have any tracking device on my car, ever.

    • bilgeez

      do you wear tin badges all over your clothes so they cant brainwash you with radiation, too?

    • RadicalCenter

      You could have paid by debit card.

      Our PayPal debit card can be run as a debit card or as a “credit card”, so it is accepted everywhere. No annual fee, no minimum balance in the underlying bank account, and we get one percent cash back on all purchases all the time.

      We pay for just about everything by debit card, no need for credit cards ever and no need for cash most of the time.

      • I’mGoofey2

        I like the sound of that. I’ll have to check into it. Thanks.

  • Shosh 7154

    WHY are so many CEO’s in major banks worldwide dying by suicide or other questionable means…there have been 20 deaths of Bank CEO’s since December last year.

  • Roger Doger

    Bank CEO/CFO’s will do anything they need to to increase their profits so that they can keep their bonuses.

    I say resist any and all attempts to move to electronic mail and bill paying.

    Besides, with all the data breaches, it’s in your best interest.

    Do everything you can to keep other employed.

  • orca

    the guy is wrong on every count
    Many like paper because of the trial it leads
    Ban of America lost my deposit twice the electronic record did not show the deposits but i had the receipt for the transaction they made it right what would have happened if I had no proof
    Yes electronic banking is great but not the end all of banking this seems to claim
    Reminds me of when E-books first came out they predicted paper books and newspapers would disappear well here we are long after and paper books and news papers are still here

    • bilgeez

      I trade in books, CDs and DVDs, and my business is way down over the past 5 yrs. Many are going to ebooks, esp classics, because they are free, and downloading digital music and videos. It may not completely disappear, but it will be a very small number of those who have hard copy anything in the not too distant future. I havent written a check in over 3 yrs.

  • Gringo Bandit

    Will just find a local community bank with morals.

  • peter

    lets talk to operator in india or pakistan, if we have a problem… and as usual if we do not pay something on time we will get monetary penalty, and when something go wrong with a system they will as usually “sorry for inconvinience”which actually means F you! Wait when they say that printing of money cost much and is not good for us and everything gets electronicly processed…we will depend on them, and if we do not listen… imagine absolute control of the bankers (state) !!!!

  • mandycat

    Oh, swell. Yet another opportunity to sit with a phone glued to your ear as you trudge through options, only to be put on hold when you finally get to your destination. (Unless, of course, the thing hangs up on you halfway through.) Every time I hear some company announce that a change will mean “greater efficiency” I know that it doesn’t mean more efficient service for me, just lowered costs for them.

    Apparently cable companies have set the bar for crappy service and U.S. companies won’t be satisfied until they’ve ALL reached the goal.

  • BobBobb

    None of these will come to pass in the next 10 years. Paper will still exist and be used. So will paper checks. And there will still be tellers in physical bank branch buildings. Banks may want all this stuff to go away, but the public won’t go along with it.

    • http://makingfunofliberals.blogspot.com/ W.A.S.P.

      I wish you were right. Electing a community organizer twice speaks volumes about peoples intelligence.

    • RadicalCenter

      A large and increasing proportion of the public is quite fine with it. Get out and talk to people under sixty years old once in a while.

      Bank branches will continue to decline, and the use of paper checks will be almost non-existent within ten years.

  • Karen Belter

    there are times when i prefer to write out a check, usually to keep certain products and services from ;automatic renewal. sometimes – but not always – this can be handled by authorizing only single debits, but not with certain would-like-to-be permanent creditors.

  • bilgeez

    with banks saving so much by doing things electronically how come their interest rates are so abysmal? GREED!

  • leslie green

    We are being herded into a cashless society. If everyone is forced to use debit/or credit cards that will allow the government to monitor and control every expenditure you make. They will have a tally on every thing you buy and they will be able to allow you access to your money or not. It’s all part of the authoritarian complete control that they aim for.

  • MacDaddyWatch

    Electronic money is on its way. The Feds know that “cash only” businesses are costing them multi-billions. Many states like CA are also being hammered. Big Government is conducting a “cash grab” that is only just getting started. The only way to defeat a “cashless economy” is to make the entire economy cashless and to replace it with easily traceable and recordable electronic money. No transaction could escape this system. The technology to do just this exists today; its just a matter of time.

  • Sharon Kramer

    My bank has just started this. Today the offices were gutted and I was told all my favorite tellers, the ones who were always so helpful, will be gone by the end of the month. In their teller spots will be machines.
    How sad for us and them.

  • http://makingfunofliberals.blogspot.com/ W.A.S.P.

    Why do people still use standard banks? Credit Unions are a much better deal. Fire your bank!

    • I’mGoofey2

      Ask your local “credit union” WHERE they bank. You may be surprised at the answer. They are a “financial cooperative” and (at least the smaller ones) deposit their excess cash with a standard bank. Mine does.

      • http://makingfunofliberals.blogspot.com/ W.A.S.P.

        Challenge accepted. I’ll follow you and report when I hear more.

  • augie

    i have been with citibank for 18 years, having opened my account in a large city years ago. i retired to a small town of about 23,000 people where there had been, until recently, a citibank branch. they closed this branch and hundreds of others in small towns in june. if i want to walk into a branch, i have to drive to the nearest city which is 30 miles away. citibank didn’t even leave an ATM location. however, first national bank has four locations in our town. i think compass bank has three locations. plus there are several other banks and a credit union open to membership to the general public. so go figure with citibank.

    • RadicalCenter

      Why do you have any need to go to a physical bank branch with any regularity?

  • smjhunt

    Those former bank employees will certainly “reap the benefits” of being unemployed.

    • RadicalCenter

      Should we also scrap automobiles so that people who shoe horses and make carriages don’t lose their jobs?

      Should we scrap the efficiency of farm equipment so that farms can hire people to do that work less productively and at much greater cost, because after all that will “reduce unemployment”?

  • Third_stone

    The technology is not ready. Our connections are over priced, ill secured, and easily robbed. Often in dealing with internet commerce we find providers simply not answering our inquiries, and the person to person problem solving is far more time consuming since we saw the last of ringing telephones that people picked up and said hello into. We have no recourse, since we have no idea where they are, most likely spread around the world, and if you could find them and go there to ask for your overpayment to be returned, the only human you would see is the security at the door who will tell you nobody will see you now.

  • Sbell

    It’s funny. I heard about the demise of “brick and mortar” more than a decade ago, yet I see new branch buildings going up all over the place, even now. I have to disagree with that one. I use few paper checks, but they are very important for small business, especially, and one-time payments in general.

    • RadicalCenter

      You may personally “see new branch buildings going up all over the place”, but the actual FACT is that banks nationwide, taken all together, have substantially REDUCED the number of bank branches in 2013 and many other recent years.

      I also disagree that paper checks will remain “very important” for small business. I’m in my 40s and already rarely use paper checks even at small businesses. Ask people younger than I am and see how many consider paper checks to be useful or important, and ask how often they pay by paper check for anything.

      I am a very small businessman myself, as owner of one condo unit as a rental property. Even there we do not need paper checks anymore. My new tenants, both young ladies in their late 20s, informed me that their banks will let them pay rent by simply directly transferring money from their checking accounts to mine, with no fee at all. It’s quicker and easier for them and for me.

      I pay the monthly condo fee online from my checking account, with no fee charged to me to do so.

      My wife and I have paid all of the following bills online each month, no need for paper checks, for several years now without a problem: utilities, home internet, cellular data for tablets, newspaper delivery, water delivery, car insurance, renters insurance, and homeowners insurance.

  • Banker Fella

    “Experts” have been telling us since 1969 that we are mere months away from a completely paperless society and that banks will no longer have branches. Nonsense. There willl be fewer, but they will not disappear. It’s not just consumers that use branches, businesses do as well and they will alsways need a place to make deposits. Many people prefer dealing with a live person, in person, as well. So I’d take alll this with several grains of salt.

  • thetnrebel

    none for the better

  • Enzyte Bob

    They’ve been saying this for 25 years, yet I still see bank branches getting built. Second of all, there is so much financial fraud I’m not exactly comfortable with electrons. I want to see a physical presence.

  • leon

    piss on a bank

  • Peter Field

    What controls or oversight will the government have to or be able to, put in place to keep banks like Chase from fraudulent actions against customers? “Where will the complaint department be?”

  • Ken

    I think my small town community bank will still be around as it has for the last 125 years. I deposited a large check last year and the new teller asked the branch manager if she should put a hold on it until it cleared. The branch manager looked over, saw me and said “No, we know where he lives”. Can’t beat small town personal service. Most of the people in the area where I live banks with them when the big name banks placed big city rules on us. Parking is easy to find near Wells Fargo.

  • amongoose

    Sounds more like dependence than convenience.

  • renest

    All of this has been predicted, think One World Order, with everyone chipped, total control. All transactions and all invasion of privacy completely done through computer control. Anytime you do something the government or the Oligarchs do not like, they can completely cut you off from Health Services, the Purchasing of Food, Mortgage Transactions, and the list goes on. Is this what people want?

  • renest

    What is happening now is the big banks are taking over the small banks, and changing policies, making their customers feel like the banks are doing them a favor. They are crooks, who own the government and therefore get anything they want, while making huge profits off of Taxpayer Debt.

  • Trae

    Geez. What does Jews have to do with ANYTHING this article is talking about?
    Please tell me WHAT?!

  • Wolfman

    buy now If you don’t know I can’t help you