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Majority of top banks offering mobile banking

By Claes Bell · Bankrate.com
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Posted: 5 pm ET

Good news for tech-savvy checking account holders on the go: More banks are offering mobile banking services than ever before. A recent report by market research firm First Annapolis found that 54 percent of the top 100 financial institutions in the country surveyed offered some form of mobile banking.

Nearly a third of top banks offer a mobile banking app for the iPhone (photo by Yutaka Tsutano)

Nearly a third of top banks offer a mobile banking app for the iPhone (photo by Yutaka Tsutano)

Nearly 40 percent now offer banking services over the mobile Web, accessible to smart phones such as Apple's iPhone. Banking by text message is also a popular option among banks; 32 percent offer banking services and/or alerts by text messages. Another 32 percent offer apps for smart phones, with the iPhone App Store getting apps from 28 percent of financial institutions. Other smart phone platforms such as Blackberry and Android were less likely to get banking apps.

This level of industry adoption for mobile banking is higher than I would have expected and strikes me as a win-win for consumers and banks.

While there's a certain percentage of the population that will never accept mobile banking, for many, the convenience of transferring funds, paying bills and making other key transactions anywhere, anytime is too much to resist. And convenience isn't the only benefit -- according to the report, the most common features offered were instant balance inquiries and transaction history, two key features for avoiding overdrafts and preventing fraud.

Banks also benefit, because more mobile banking means less customer traffic at branches, allowing them to cut costs by employing fewer tellers and keeping fewer branches open.

What do you think? Do you use mobile banking, or do you still prefer seeing a teller in person or banking on your computer?

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