Mobile banking use continued to rise in 2015 as consumers were increasingly drawn to the convenience of mobile financial services, according to a newly released Federal Reserve Board survey.
The report, Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2016, was based on results of a 2015 consumer survey. It documents consumers’ use of smartphones and basic mobile phones with limited features to carry out banking and other financial activities. It is the Federal Reserve Board’s fifth annual look at how consumers use mobile phones to perform various banking services.
As of November 2015, 43% of adults with mobile phones and bank accounts reported using mobile banking, up 4% from the prior year’s survey, according to an FRB news release about the survey. The most common way consumers use mobile banking is to check their account balances or recent transactions, followed by transferring money between accounts. According to the release, more than half of mobile banking users received an alert from their financial institution through a text message, push notification or email, the third most common use of mobile banking.
Among mobile banking users with smartphones, 54% cited the mobile channel as one of the three most important ways they interact with their bank. Consumers listed online (65%) and ATM usage (62%) as the two most important forms of interaction with their bank, but mobile banking was slightly above the share visiting a teller at a branch (51%).
Mobile payments still continue to be less common than other forms of mobile banking. Only 24% of all mobile phone users, and 28% of smartphone users, made a mobile payment in the 12 months prior to the survey. For smartphone owners who reported making payments with their phones, the most common types of mobile payments were paying bills, purchasing a physical item or digital content remotely and paying for something in a store, according to the release.
Certain demographic groups, such as younger adults, Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks, reported higher use of mobile banking and mobile payments than the overall survey averages. Smartphone ownership among those with mobile phones is higher for Hispanics than for non-Hispanic whites in this survey.
Most consumers using mobile banking and mobile payments cite convenience or getting a smartphone as their main reason for adoption, while to the main impedients to mobile financial services continue to be a stated preference for other methods of banking and making payments and concerns about security, according to the release.
Concerns about the security and privacy of personal information continue to be expressed by mobile phone users, and the majority of smartphone users reported taking steps to prevent a security incident, such as installing updates, password-protecting the phone and customizing privacy settings, according to the release.
The survey was conducted on behalf of the board by GfK, an online consumer research firm, between Nov. 4-23, 2015. More than 2,500 respondents completed the survey.
The 2016 report and a video summarizing the survey’s results can be found at www.federalreserve.gov/communitydev/mobile_finance.htm.