After a decade of trial and error, mobile banking finally seems to be taking hold among consumers…although there is still a lot of room for growth.
A December 2011-January 2012 survey by the Federal Reserve looked at consumers’ use of mobile technology; essentially, its role in accessing financial services and making financial decisions. Among the 87 percent of mobile phone owners in the United States, 21 percent say they have used mobile banking in the past year, with another 11 percent reporting they plan to use it.
The survey also found that mobile banking is most often used to check account balances and recent transactions (90 percent of users), followed by transferring money (42 percent). But, perhaps surprisingly, only 12 percent of mobile phone users report making a mobile payment in the past 12 months.
Why the hesitation? Maybe it’s the result of lingering concerns about mobile banking’s security and limited usefulness on some devices – 42 percent reported that security doubts keeps them from using mobile payments. Further, more than half of respondents (58 percent) felt traditional banking adequately met their needs, so they had no need for mobile banking. More than a third said they either don’t see a benefit in making payments by mobile device or they find other payment methods easier.
So, despite mobile’s growth, it’s clear that safety fears and ease of use have created hurdles to growing consumer adoption.
Armed with this knowledge, credit unions can develop more effective mobile banking programs or reexamine their current mobile programs and make adjustments. Here are some ideas:
- Increase the focus on member education to address ease-of-use issues.
- Add incentives to strengthen the perceived benefits for members making mobile payments versus traditional payments.
- Promote security measures that work to keep members’ financial activities safe.
With the large majority of the U.S. population having mobile phones, credit unions have a good opportunity to grow their mobile-banking programs. But the key is to know your audience, including their mobile preferences and their concerns about “going mobile”, and then create your program accordingly.
[This article originally ran in the DigitalMailer Newsletter. To sign up for this free, monthly email newsletter, visit our newsletter page and subscribe with our easy-to-use webform.]