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Digital innovation is transforming the way people manage their money, with apps leading the way, as UK consumers logged into banking apps 5.5 billion times last year.

Increasingly, customers are utilising new technologies to talk to experts outside conventional bank branch hours rather than taking time out of their working day, with major banks reporting more than 5.5 million webchats with customers in 2017.

According to a new report, the popularity of social media apps such as Twitter, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, is encouraging consumers to take advantage of webchat services when they are offered by financial providers.

The Way We Bank Now report, sponsored by global consultancy EY, reveals that more than 22 million British customers have downloaded banking apps to date.

Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, said: “The industry has responded to this seismic social change, which is very much led by customers looking to make the most of digital innovation for convenience.

“Over the next few years, Open Banking and artificial intelligence will change the relationship we have, not only with our banks but also how we fundamentally access and utilise financial products and services.”

Customers are using mobile banking apps for a range of services, with 51% using them to pay bills, 62% to transfer money and 27% to set up standing orders.

Customers also received 512 million SMS alerts, ranging from notifications on new payments into their account as well as providing warnings ahead of annual payments, which offers a reminder if they wish to cancel subscriptions.

The convenience of banking online and through apps has transformed the frequency of branch visits, which have plummeted 26% since 2012, according to the report.

UK Finance is a trade association formed in 2017 to represent the finance and banking industry operating in the UK.

It represents around 300 firms in the UK providing credit, banking, markets and payment-related services, bringing together most of the activities previously carried out by the Asset Based Finance Association, the British Bankers’ Association, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, Financial Fraud Action UK, Payments UK and the UK Cards Association.