Mobile banking will impact 46% of bank account holders

Krystal Peak · August 14, 2012 · Short URL:

By 2017, 108M US consumers will be banking via mobile devices


Who needs those big cold banks with their pens on a bungie line and absurdly tiny lollipops, according to a new report those banking via smartphone will reach 108 million people by 2017.

The latest Forrester Research report released Tuesday pointed out that 46% of all U.S. bank account holders will be using mobile banking to keep track of their funds. Currently, 13% of U.S. and 9% of European mobile phone owners regularly use their banks’ mobile banking tools.

If you haven't jumped on board, I have to say that it takes all the guess work out of shopping. Now I can check my credit card and banking balances all while waiting in line at the store so I make sure to use the appropriate card to fit my spending habits and take advantage of the monthly cash back deals I have for a given account. Though it does mean I know substantially less about the tabloid mainstays -- RIP TomKat. 

While the tech sector is all abuzz around mobile payment technology like Square, WePay and others, but the real technology that almost all adults can put to use right now is banking and checking their financial status instantly.  

Most users are just using mobile banking to check their balances (45%), transaction histories (61%) and to transfer money between their own accounts (31%) -- its like they are talking about me. But in coming years more banking options will likely roll out across the board and become more widely used, such as depositing a check by just taking a picture of the check or qualifying for a loan digitally.

Also, in the U.S., 65% of mobile bankers use their banks’ mobile sites and 45% use apps designed by their banking provider. These habits differ quite greatly from the consumers in Europe that rely mostly on SMS alerts and checks.

When you dive deeper into who mobile banking is resonating with, the average person is younger, have a higher income and are more experienced online than the average mobile phone user. 

Mobile payment future

Since so many people are talking about mobile payments, many are also expecting banks to grow their signature apps to include mobile payment options as well, but since there are so many of these individual apps, it will take some API adoption on the part of the banking app developers.

Cash is going to be a thing of the past if mobile and Web payments continue to work their way up the ladder in commerce. 

Research out this summer from Gartner says that this year will see more than $171.5 billion in mobile payment transactions. That's a whopping 60% increase on 2011′s $105.9 billion.  This means that 212.2 million people (up 32% from 160.5 million in 2011) are using some form of mobile payment service. 

And while the technology is out there to offer near-field-communication between smartphones and POS systems, it is Web transactions and SMS services that are making up the bulk of these digital transactions. 

Banks obviously want to be cut in on this rather than out.

Gartner sees digital mobile transactions reaching $617 billion by 2016 — but these factors in a slight slowing-down in growth to 42%.

SMS, Gartner research director Sandy Shen notes, is still the primary method used in making payments in developing markets, while in more developed markets, most transactions are made via mobile Internet portals. 

One API provider, WePay, just announced today that it is working to gain more adoption but not only lowering the fee it charges per transaction but also boosting its API so that retailers can accept payments more easily without building the infrastructure from the ground up. It seems like banks may be the next investors in mobile banking tech. In fact, I predict some banks will start snapping up promising mobile payment companies any month now. Just you watch.

(Image Source: LATimes)

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