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Mobile banking gets ‘no’ vote

By Marcie Geffner ·
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Posted: 9 am ET

A new survey of 15,000 people in the U.S. and Canada has found that banking customers have so far not embraced mobile banking. In fact, only a scant 1.7 percent of U.S. respondents said they preferred to use mobile banking for routine transactions.

That figure wasn’t as dismal as the percentage who said they liked to use the bank’s telephone service for routine transactions. That option was favored by less than 1 percent of the U.S. respondents.

More preferred were Internet banking and in-branch transactions. Overall, 38 percent of U.S. respondents picked the Internet as their top choice.

But wait. Those numbers shifted considerably when consumers were asked about two situations: major transactions and problem resolution.

When a major transaction was at stake, 76 percent of U.S. respondents said they preferred to visit a bank branch while only 21 percent wanted to use the Internet.

And when a problem came up, 57 percent again said they wanted to visit a branch while 36 percent suddenly decided they wanted telephone service. That might be because they needed immediate help at a time when the branch wasn’t open, but the telephone service was.

Mobile banking likely fared poorly due to security issues, according to Empathica, the Toronto-based consumer research company that conducted the survey. This option was perceived as a security risk, even though consumers seemingly had fewer qualms about Internet banking security.

In fact, 51 percent of U.S. respondents said they didn’t trust the security of mobile banking. The level of distrust expressed toward Internet banking was significantly lower at just 21.7 percent of U.S. respondents, though even that figure was high compared with the greater level of trust expressed toward branch locations.

Of course, the survey results raise plenty of questions about mobile banking: Is the preference for it really that low? Is security really the reason why? What’s the basis of those security fears? And what will banks have to do if they want to convince customers to use this service?

We may need another survey to find out. Unless, perhaps, you have the answers?

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October 14, 2010 at 10:48 am

My guess is if you look at the average age/generation of the respondents fell into you will probably see a lower percent of Gen X & Y. I use my phone for EVERYTHING, but unfortunately I did not set up my mobile banking prior to my bank merging with another, so I have to wait awhile before having that ability. I do use the internet browser on my phone to access my bank though (just not an app).