“How Consumers Navigate Financial Wellness in a Time of Uncertainty”

In 2019, the FCS partnered with Google to host two insightful breakfast events in New York and San Francisco, moderated by Industry Directors Steve Arthur and Mike Henry, respectively. We're proud to share with the FCS community a recent article penned by Steve and Mike that offers insights about the opportunities financial institutions have to help customers navigate the challenges of the current environment.

As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold across the globe, it’s affecting different people and communities in different ways. But one commonality is that, in addition to concerns about their own health and the health of family, friends and loved ones, people are concerned about their financial well-being. These concerns include how to meet day-to-day obligations like rent or groceries — and extend to issues such as how best to pay taxes, how to access cash for essential items, how to make digital payments, how to get money to loved ones, and how to manage investments. From March 8, 2020, to March 14, 2020, search behavior on Google for “financial help” grew 203% over one week.(1)

With many businesses unable to operate normally due to widespread shelter-in-place orders, it’s no surprise that consumer behavior is shifting, including how they spend, save, and connect with their money. In fact, during the week from March 8, 2020, to March 14, 2020, Google searches for apps in the Finance category grew 31%.(2)

For consumers, who on average have 10 financial products,(3) it’s understandably overwhelming to try to stay abreast of their financial situation. And with financial situations rapidly changing, people want helpful, up-to-date information. As proof, search interest for “how to invest” grew 61% from March 8, 2020, to March 14, 2020, versus the same week the prior year.(4)

Even in this challenging time, it’s possible for brands to engage with consumers in ways that are relevant and helpful, and that don’t come across as tone deaf or self-serving. Helping to build people’s confidence and alleviate concerns about their financial security amid uncertainty is one of the most important things financial service brands can do right now.

Not sure how to help? Read on for three useful and valuable strategies for assisting people that financial institutions are uniquely suited to deliver.



1-2, 4 Google Trends, U.S., June 9, 2019–March 21, 2020.
3 Google/Accenture, U.S., Growing Share of Wallet Study, n of 4,200 U.S. consumers who have personal financial products or services, March 2019.