Financial Inclusion

Mobile Banking A Hit With Nearly Half Of Mobile Device Owners

A recent survey by the American Bankers Association found that two in five Americans (roughly 39 percent) use a mobile device to access and manage their bank account at least once a month, with 45 percent reporting using mobile banking in general.

"It’s no surprise that mobile banking has become more popular given banks’ increased investment in this technology,” Nessa Feddis, ABA’s senior vice president and deputy chief counsel for consumer protection and payments, said in a news release. “Smartphones and tablets have become such an essential part of daily life for many Americans. Mobile banking is another way that institutions are making it more convenient for their customers to manage their accounts anytime and anywhere.”

The ABA announced the results of its annual survey of 1,000 U.S. adults late last week. Independent market research firm Ipsos Public Affairs conducted the survey.

When survey participants were asked how often they used mobile banking within recent months, 16 percent said one to three times, up from 15 percent in 2014. The survey also showed a slight decrease in the number of respondents who are mobile device owners but reported never using mobile banking, dropping from 45 percent in 2014 to 42 percent in this year’s results.

"Mobile banking has grown in popularity as availability and consumer awareness have increased,” Feddis explained. “We anticipate that more customers are likely to gravitate toward mobile banking as institutions bolster their offerings in areas like mobile payments and geo-location services that can help customers find the nearest ATM and discounts from local merchants nearby."

ABA’s latest survey results speak to the growing popularity of mobile banking, which goes hand in hand with the proliferation of smartphones and mobile devices.

MPD CEO Karen Webster recently pointed out that more bank branches in the U.S. closed in 2014 than any of the last several years – 1,407 to be precise — and more closures are on the horizon. In fact, only three new U.S. banks have opened in between 2010 and 2014 — and one doesn’t need to look far to figure out why. Nearly a third of consumers report never having stepped foot in a bank branch in the last six months, and 58 percent of those under 30 hadn’t been in the last 30 days.

Webster pointed out that online and mobile channels are now the preferred methods in which consumers want to engage with their banks. Mobile engagement is up 52 percent from just a few years ago, according to the Fed’s study on mobile financial services. Almost as many consumers used online banking as ATMs last year, and more consumers used mobile banking than telephone call centers that year, too.

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