How are US citizens using mobiles for financial services?

The majority of US citizens aren’t using mobile banking services because they simply don’t need it, and their banking needs were being adequately met without the use of mobile banking.

That’s the big takeaway from the Federal Reserve (FRB), who has brought out a mammoth 79-page document on how consumers interact with mobile financial services and found that the use of mobiles to access bank accounts and credit cards went up in the United States last year.

But 54% of those surveyed felt they could do all the banking they needed without going mobile – an interesting number, albeit down from 58% this time last year.

The FRB outlined mobile banking and mobile payments separately, naturally, and found that security was a big fear for both banking (49%) and payments (38%).

Interestingly, one third of participants who said they didn’t use mobile banking didn’t see the point of it and “find it easier to pay with another method”.

Yet according to the FRB research, 15% of mobile phone owners had made a mobile payment during the past 12 months, up from 12% this time last year, and 6% of all smartphone users had made a point of sale payment in the past 12 months, compared with 1% in December 2011.

Some things don’t change however, as the most popular mobile banking activity with US consumers remains reviewing account balances.

The report also examined the proliferation of smartphone use in the US market, how it affects mobile banking and the exploration of m-commerce.

More than two in five (42%) of respondents said they’d used their smartphone to compare retail deals online – perhaps an indicator as to why a store in Australia has enacted a $5 “just looking” fee to deter consumers from ROBO (research offline, buy online) tactics.

Similarly, just under two thirds (64%) of respondents admitted they had checked their account balance on their mobile devices before making a large purchase – with half of that number eventually not purchasing an item because of that.

Yet it’s safe to say all these numbers are steadily on the rise, and it ties in with contemporary research; the latest market study from Juniper Research, for example, mobile banking users will hit 1 billion by 2017, with a growing acceptance of push mobile banking and the rise of media tablet adoption seen as driving the growth.

The full report can be found here. What else needs to be done to switch consumers on to mobile banking solutions?

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