One of every 5 U.S. consumers used a mobile phone to access a bank, credit card or other financial account during the 12-month period that ended Jan. 31, 2012, according to a recent survey of nearly 2,300 people by Knowledge Networks. Another 1 of every 5 consumers plan to do so in the future, the online consumer research firm reported.
The survey's findings suggested that mobile banking is poised to expand further with usage possibly increasing to 1 of every 3 mobile phone users by next year, according to a Federal Reserve statement about the survey. But the survey also found many consumers remained skeptical of the benefits and level of security associated with this technology.
Mobile banking use was highly correlated with age. The survey found people in the 18-to-29-year-old age group accounted for 44 percent of mobile banking users, but only 22 percent of all mobile phone users. Conversely, people ages 60 or older accounted for 24 percent of mobile phone users, but only 6 percent of all mobile banking users.
Mobile technology could help to expand access to financial services to underserved populations since these so-called under-banked people -- those with a bank account but still use check cashiers, payday lenders or payroll cards -- make relatively heavy use of mobile banking. The survey found 29 percent of this group had used mobile banking during the survey period.
Checking an account balance and monitoring recent transactions were the most commonly reported mobile banking activities. Making online bill payments from a bank account, locating an in-network ATM and depositing a check by phone were less frequently performed mobile banking functions.
The majority of consumers who had a mobile phone but didn't use mobile banking said they had no need for such services or expressed security concerns. Nonusers also were more likely to say they believed mobile banking wasn't secure or they didn't know how secure the technology was.
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