Fed: Mobile Banking On Rise

The proportion of mobile phone users who managed their bank accounts via mobile at least occasionally has steadily increased over the last few years, from 29% in 2012 to 33% in 2013 and 39% in 2014, according to a new survey conducted by the Federal Reserve. 

The figures are significantly higher for smartphone users, although growth is slower, from 51% in 2013 to 52% in 2014.

The most popular service among mobile bankers was simply scrolling through their account transactions to make sure everything checked out. Additionally, the proportion of mobile bankers who have used mobile devices to deposit a check increased from 38% in 2013 to 51% in 2014. Meanwhile, 22% of mobile phone owners made a mobile payment with their device in 2014, up from 17% in 2013.

Interestingly, people who rely less on traditional banks (the “under banked”) were more likely to use mobile banking, at 48%, compared to 37% for the “fully banked.”

Among mobile owners who don’t use mobile banking, 86% said they don’t use it simply because their banking needs are met without mobile, and 73% said they don’t see any reason to use the service. 62% said they are concerned about security, and 34% don’t trust the technology. Some complaints were a little more prosaic: 39% said the screen is too small, and 20% said mobile banking apps were too difficult to use.

The Fed survey echoes other studies suggesting that while the rate of adoption is clearly growing, mobile banking hasn’t quite reached the tipping point for mass adoption. In December of last year, a survey by Rate Watch found that 82% of financial institutions offered mobile banking services in 2014, up from 68% in 2013 -- but 77% said that less than a quarter of their customers are using mobile banking. 

However, just 2% of consumer respondents said mobile banking is their primary banking method, up from under 1% in 2013.

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