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More banking customers go mobile

By David McMillin · Bankrate.com
Saturday, December 1, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

According to a study released this week by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, Americans are getting increasingly comfortable with checking their banking balances on their cellphones. In just one year, the percentage of consumers that perform banking-related activities climbed from 18 percent to 29 percent.

The study breaks down respondents into age demographics, and not surprisingly, the youngest cellphone users are the most tech-savvy. Nearly half of respondents between 18 and 29 use their mobile devices to manage their personal finances.

While young consumers may be the primary reasons for the increase, the study shows that an older generation of Americans is jumping on board with mobile banking. In 2011, Pew conducted the same study, and just 16 percent of respondents older than 50 used their phones for banking-related activities. In the most recent report, that figure jumped to 28 percent.

"When the results are taken together, the increase in mobile bankers ages 50 to 64 from May 2011 to September 2012 is significant," says Maeve Duggan, research assistant, Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The increase in older consumers moving toward mobile money management is great news for banks. As financial institutions work to adjust to new regulations, they're aiming to reduce costs such as mailing paper statements and staffing branches with tellers. If more consumers are willing to adopt mobile and online tools, banks should benefit.

Mobile study guides

Still, increasing mobile banking adoption rates will require some hand-holding. While mobile banking may seem very simple for account holders who regularly download apps, others may need a technological tutorial, and many institutions are uploading easy-to-understand videos that outline the steps toward downloading and using a mobile app.

How do you feel about using your cellphone for your personal finances? Do you still ask your bank to mail paper statements to your house? Has your bank offered any educational tools to help you understand the benefits, convenience and security of mobile banking?

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