Number of Online-Only Bank Accounts in the U.S.
Using the Millennials survey sample calculated against United States census data as a baseline, there are, at least, 831,000 individual online-only banking accounts. Unfortunately, more precise or current figures have been found, thus far, to be publicly unavailable.
While we were unable to find exact data for the number of online-only bank accounts in the United States, we were able to locate useful statistical trends, particularly for Millennials, the demographic shown most likely to use online-only banks. Considering this was the only demographic for which current statistics of online-only banking data were publicly available, we feel that Millennial data may be the most reliable as a baseline low figure. Other estimates for this data were behind a paywall.
Below you'll find an outline of our research methodology to better understand why information you've requested is publicly unavailable, as well as a deep dive into our findings.
When a pre-compiled list of publicly available data was unable to be located, we then switched tactics to piecing consumer numbers together through industry investor reports, white papers, FDIC records, and press releases within the past two years, as well as industry-specific trend forecasts and Millennial-specific trend publications.
The only current figures publicly available for total online-only banking consumers was found within survey data of Millennial focus groups. Considering that Millennials are the demographic most likely to utilize online-only banking, we have provided their estimated numbers for our very conservative figure.
Although precise numbers of current online-only banking consumers are publicly unavailable, we used several statistics to triangulate some useful data points: surveyed Millennial digital-only banking consumers, data regarding online-banking consumers, United States Census population data, and the publicly available consumer numbers reported by top online-only banks within the past three years.
With a population over the age of 18 at approximately 245,157,000 (318,748,000 total population in 2014 - 73,591,000 under the age of 18 = 245,157,000), and 46% of whom use online banking, we were able to arrive at an estimate of 112,772,220 (245,157,000*0.46) individual online banking-usage accounts. Please note, however, that this data does not distinguish between users with online-only banks vs. banks with online interactive options.
A 2017 Cornerstone Advisors survey of 2,015 U.S. Millennials consumers reported that 1% of those surveyed had a primary checking account with an online-only bank. In 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau reported the population of Millennials to be 83.1 million, with 1% of that figure coming out to 831,000 individuals between the ages of 18-34.
Switching to online-only banking
A 2016 Accenture survey of over 4,000 United States consumers reported that 11% had switched over to an online-virtual bank in the past 12 months. If we play this percentage off of the 2014 population of 18 and over (245,157,000; triangulated above), then we can assume that the estimated number of consumers who switched over to online-only banking to be 26,967,270 (245,157,000*0.11).
We discovered that major online retailer, Amazon, is considering initiating steps toward developing online-only banking options primarily targeted toward Prime users. As of 2017, there were roughly 90 million Amazon Prime US-based users. Of the 1,000 surveyed, 57.95% said they would consider opening an online-only savings account through the retailers, and 52.33% stated they would consider opening a primary bank account through Amazon. Given the number of Amazon Prime users at 90 million, the number of users projected to open an online-only bank account through Amazon comes out to between 52-47 million users (90 million*0.5233 and 90 million*0.5795).
Top online-only banks in the u.s.
We discovered that the major players in what is also called "Direct Banking" in the United States are as follows, presented alphabetically. The original list was compiled with criteria that included each listed worldwide bank be independently-operated from a physical branch. We pulled only the companies based in the United States for our list, with available customer data. Although the data are presented here to provide a backdrop of the customer levels of the major players in this market, their data are too broad to effectively triangulate an estimate based on their combined numbers.
-Ally: A 2015 press release announced over 1 million customers.
-Bank Mobile: A 2015 press release announced its first 100,000 customers, with a projection to reach 2 million by 2016.
-Finn: Launched in late 2017, with no publicly available consumer size data as of this date. However, "Chase already has the most popular branch-based mobile app, with over 29 million users." Considering the company's already proven mobile-app-success with its parent company, the 2018 Finn promotions should lead to high numbers once reports are released.
-GoBank: No certain consumer base available. However, the Wal-Mart-based company plans to target the "un-banked" demographic, which means a potential customer base of over 30 million.
-Moven: No certain consumer base data available. Their Facebook page lists 6,850 "likes" and Google Play lists a broad figure of 100,000-500,000 installs. However, neither of these figures could be used as a reliable data point for triangulation since there are other avenues of download access available.
-Simple: Over 100,000 customers.
-USAA: 11.9 million members, with data figures for online-only banking members unavailable.
Considering that major online player Amazon.com appears to have plans to enter the world of online-only banking, one can safely assume that online-only banking will experience exponential growth in the near future. If the demographic most likely to use an online-only banking model is used as a base figure, we can also safely assume that the current (and very conservative) number of online-only bank accounts in the U.S. is estimated at 831,000.