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Mobile banking popular with cognoscenti

News, 20 April 2015

NEW YORK: Mobile banking is increasing popular with those people already using it but few new customers are coming on board a new study says, and few are bothered about using mobile devices to make in-store purchases.

A survey by banking data and analytics service RateWatch gained responses from 711 adult US consumers as it sought to understand consumers' use and views of mobile banking as well as the burgeoning service of mobile payments.

The resulting report, Mobile Banking, Mobile Payments, showed that, over the past two years, the number of people using mobile banking rose only 2%, but the number of those using it at least once a week climbed from 37% to 45% over the same period.

Overall, around eight in ten financial institutions offer a mobile banking service, but more than one third (36%) of consumers say they are still not using it.

Those who are using these services are more likely to be graduates and to be in the younger age groups. Those aged 18-29 are more likely than any other to access online banking multiple times per day while those 45 and older are most likely to have never accessed online banking.

And it may be some time yet before the ubiquitous phone takes over from the old-fashioned wallet. Just one third of those surveyed were interested in making in-store purchases with their mobile devices.

The features of mobile banking that held most attention were more traditional: checking account balances, transferring between accounts, paying bills and receiving account alerts.

The fact that respondents were also keen to locate ATMs suggests the role of cash isn't about to disappear just yet.

But the report expected that, as long as safety concerns are addressed, consumers would continue to increase their demand for mobile banking.

And as that happened, Kimberly Myszkewicz, marketing manager at RateWatch, noted that "it will become even more crucial for banks to offer mobile services, or risk losing customers to competitors".

"The more a person is engaged in the service, the more likely they are to stick with that institution for other services," she said.

Data sourced from RateWatch; additional content by Warc staff