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Banking is top of mind for smart device owners who are increasingly using mobile to accomplish the daily to-do list. Among a list of tasks performance marketing company Performics provided US smartphone and tablet users in October, the No. 1 activity people said they expected to be able to do on their mobile device was banking. The expectation of mobile banking functionality was more common across every age category than routine activities such as ordering food, checking public transportation and booking travel.
Banks are responding to this expectation by moving their mobile offerings beyond basic features. National banks have begun offering mobile remote check deposit, which allows customers to deposit checks using their smartphone cameras. Wells Fargo, for instance, has extended its mobile remote deposit app to the entirety of the US.
"The camera is critical. If you look at the kinds of growth in mobile banking over the first couple of years, it was about the basics of mobile banking. But what's really exciting ... is figuring out how to take advantage of the ability of the mobile device," said Wells Fargo senior vice president and head of the mobile retail channel Brian Pearce in an interview in January with American Banker.
The Pew Internet & American Life Project found in September that mobile phone owners who used mobile banking were more likely to be younger, richer and more educated than other mobile users—all constituencies banks are desirous of courting.
Despite the obvious appeal of mobile services to an increasingly mobile-first population, there remain significant concerns, however—even among current mobile banking users—that more advanced mobile banking features are not safe to use. This is a perception banks must work to combat.
The mobile remote deposit feature offered by Wells Fargo and others was not immune—47% of US mobile banking users and 63% of non-users said they would be hesitant to use a phone camera to deposit a check due to security concerns, according to a February survey by Infosys. It was among the top three features mobile banking users said they would be most hesitant to use.
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