American mobile banking popularity sees modest growth

American mobile banking popularity sees modest growth

Mobile banking saw its popularity grow in the US last year but more than half of Americans still do not use the channel, and fewer still make payments from their handsets, according to a Federal Reserve Board survey.

Of more than 2500 adults quizzed for the Fed by GfK, 43% of those with handsets and bank accounts report using mobile banking, up four percentage points on the previous year. For smartphone users the percentage is 53%, up from 52%.

Age is an important factor in mobile banking popularity. Two thirds of those aged 18 to 29 have used their phones to bank in the last 12 months, compared to just 18% of people over the age of 60. Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks are also more likely to bank with their mobile than white people.

The most common mobile banking activity is checking account balances or recent transactions, cited by 94% of those that handle their finances through their phones. More than half of mobile bankers transfer money between their own accounts and a similar percentage receive alerts from their banks.

Only 54% of those with smartphones that have adopted mobile banking consider it one of the three most important ways they interact with their banks. This share is below those that cited online (65%) and ATM (62%) as most important, but above the share that cited a teller at a branch (51%).

Mobile payments continues to be less popular than mobile banking, with only 28% of smartphone users making a payment through their handsets during the year. For smartphone owners who do make payments, the most common types are paying bills, purchasing a physical item or digital content remotely, and paying for something in a store.

Read the full report (PDF).

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