Mobile Banking and Consumers: Making the Connection

After a decade of trial and error, mobile banking finally seems to be taking hold among consumers…although there is still a lot of room for growth.

A December 2011-January 2012 survey by the Federal Reserve looked at consumers’ use of mobile technology; essentially, its role in accessing financial services and making financial decisions. Among the 87 percent of mobile phone owners in the United States, 21 percent say they have used mobile banking in the past year, with another 11 percent reporting they plan to use it.

The survey also found that mobile banking is most often used to check account balances and recent transactions (90 percent of users), followed by transferring money (42 percent). But, perhaps surprisingly, only 12 percent of mobile phone users report making a mobile payment in the past 12 months.

Why the hesitation? Maybe it’s the result of lingering concerns about mobile banking’s security and limited usefulness on some devices – 42 percent reported that security doubts keeps them from using mobile payments. Further, more than half of respondents (58 percent) felt traditional banking adequately met their needs, so they had no need for mobile banking. More than a third said they either don’t see a benefit in making payments by mobile device or they find other payment methods easier.

So, despite mobile’s growth, it’s clear that safety fears and ease of use have created hurdles to growing consumer adoption.

Armed with this knowledge, credit unions can develop more effective mobile banking programs or reexamine their current mobile programs and make adjustments. Here are some ideas:

continue reading »