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More people using mobile banking

By Marcie Geffner · Bankrate.com
Friday, April 5, 2013
Posted: 4 pm ET

If there were a popularity contest for new technologies, mobile banking might be a top contender.

In fact, more people in the U.S. who have a mobile phone or smartphone used that device to access a bank account, credit card or other financial account last year, according to a March 2013 Federal Reserve report.

The 93-page report, "Consumers and Mobile Financial Services," describes how consumers use mobile devices for banking, payments, budgeting and shopping. The findings are based on a survey conducted by GfK, an online consumer research firm. Nearly 2,600 respondents completed the survey.

Here are the highlights:

  • Mobile phones and smartphones are ubiquitous. In fact, 87 percent of the U.S. adult population has a mobile phone; 52 percent of mobile phones are so-called smartphones, which are Internet-enabled; and 87 percent of smartphone users accessed the Internet on their phone in the past week, according to the report.
  • Mobile phones are changing the how consumers access financial services. As of November 2012, 28 percent of mobile phone users and 48 percent of smartphone users said they'd used mobile banking in the past 12 months, up from 21 percent and 42 percent, respectively, in December 2011. Common uses of a mobile device included checking an account balance or recent transaction (87 percent), transferring money between accounts (53 percent) and depositing a check (21 percent).
  • Mobile phones are also changing how consumers make payments. As of November 2012, 15 percent of mobile phone owners said they had made a mobile payment in the past 12 months, up from 12 percent in December 2011. About 24 percent of smartphone users said they'd made a mobile payment in the past 12 months, unchanged from the prior year. And 6 percent of smartphone users said they'd used their phone to make a point-of-sale payment in the past 12 months, up from 1 percent in December 2011.
  • The use of mobile financial services is particularly prevalent among the underbanked. These people generally have a bank account but also use check cashers, payday lenders or payroll cards. About 10 percent of the U.S. population is underbanked, according to the report.
  • Many consumers remained skeptical about the benefit of and security associated with mobile banking. More than half of mobile phone owners who didn't use mobile banking said they had no interest in using it.

Have you done your banking on a mobile phone or smartphone?

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff.

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