The Rise of the Multi-Account Consumer

Woman with smartphone in office

Research shows that having more than one checking account has become more popular these days. This is true especially among Millennials, of whom 42% have two or more accounts. In fact, among consumers who consider a digital bank to be their primary bank, 42% have more than one checking account, and half of them have additional accounts with traditional banks and credit unions.

  • Over the past three years, the percentage of consumers opening an account with a digital bank has grown from 6% in 2017 to 18% in the second quarter of 2020. 
  • Credit unions’ share of accounts declined from 18% to 8%, and among community banks, the drop was from 6% to 2%.

Why are consumers opening these accounts with digital banks? Payments and avoiding fees top the list. 

While roughly three in 10 consumers with an account from a digital bank said they wanted an account that doesn’t charge a monthly fee and a quarter are looking to avoid overdraft fees, 37% said it was to get a debit card to pay for a variety of things, and roughly a third said it was to make payments for a specific expense or set of expenses.


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Don’t overlook the generational differences here, however, as they relate to:

  • Monthly account fees. Nearly half of Baby Boomers with a second account from a digital bank were looking to avoid paying a monthly fee, versus a quarter to a third of the members of the other generations.
  • Overdraft fees. Many more Millennials and Gen Xers than Gen Zers and Boomers were looking to avoid overdraft fees.
  • Account-related rewards. About a quarter of Gen Xers were looking for rewards in contrast to just 3% of Baby Boomers.
  • Early access to paychecks. One in five consumers between the ages of 21 and 55 were looking for early access to their paychecks.
  • Interest rates. About one in five Gen Xers with a secondary account from a digital bank was looking for higher interest rates, more than the other generational cohorts.

Want to learn more? 

Download our latest research piece, Competing with Google Plex and Digital Banks: How Community-Based Financial Institutions Can Regain Their Mojo, for free today.