Mobile Banking Usage Up in US, Far Behind Global Rates

By July 22, 2010

A study released today shows adoption of mobile banking has surged compared to last year, particularly for the 16-24 age demographic. The fourth annual Global Consumers and Convergence survey covers US consumers as tracked by audi

t, tax and advisory firm KPMG LLP on the usage of mobile devices - "cell phones, smartphones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) for financial transactions and payments." Of the general population, nineteen percent of US consumers have conducted some sort of mobile banking, up from nine percent in the last survey eighteen months ago. About one third of the younger category have participated in these financial activities.

As significant as adoption rates are reasons for not adopting, and the most significant is security and privacy concerns - over half of US respondents who have not conducted mobile banking cite this reason. But Carl Carande, a principal in KPMG LLP's Banking and Finance Advisory practice believes that this perception will quickly change. Mobile banking is becoming more successful as the public learns it is useful as well as safe. "To continue to spur adoption, banks may need to continue to educate consumers about the security of the mobile banking environment and further promote the availability of this vehicle that helps make banking more accessible and convenient."

Just as significant, nearly three-quarters of this same group do not have or do not know if their bank offers this service.

Comfortable mobile bankers increased six percent since the last survey, to sixteen percent. Those not comfortable with using their mobile devices for banking dropped eleven percent to 55 percent. But though our rates have improved, the rest of the world enjoys a one-third comfort level with mobile banking.

"U.S. consumers are warming up to the 'mobile wallet' concept in which the mobile device will function as a payment and financial transaction instrument," said Mitch Siegel, director in KPMG LLP's Banking and Finance Advisory practice.  "Banks are actively engaged in developing platforms and interfaces that will make this concept seamless and familiar for the consumer, while also developing business relationships with players involved in developing the end-to-end eco-system."

Closely related to mobile finance is commerce growth trends, which are running parallel to the former. Ten percent of US consumers use their mobile devices for e-retail, double the rate from 2008, but still far behind the 28 percent of the global rate. Investment also had a ten percent share of US consumers, though nearly thirty percent of global consumers buy or sell stock on their mobile device.

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