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As US consumers increasingly turn to digital banking to manage their personal finances, banks are allocating more resources toward the development of the channel. The demand for face-to-face customer service is diminishing to the extent that some banks are closing a number of brick-and-mortar locations. But as consumers’ internet banking tendencies change, banks must determine where best to allocate resources, even on digital.
In a June 2013 study by research and consulting firm Celent, bank websites prevailed as the top method for managing personal finances, particularly among those who own smartphones. In the survey, 42% of US smartphone owners reported relying primarily on their bank’s website to manage their finances vs. 27% of nonsmartphone owners.
Online banking is pervasive among all age groups, but mobile banking adoption is lagging somewhat. The study found that younger users—those between ages 18 and 29—were more likely to sign up for mobile banking than their older counterparts.
There are a variety of reasons why some consumers may be hesitant to bank on mobile. Security concerns topped the list of reasons why smartphone users didn’t use the platform, with 47% of respondents stating that they did not trust the security of a mobile phone for banking transactions. The simple preference for managing finances on other channels also was a major barrier to mobile banking adoption, as a significant number of smartphone users preferred to speak with a representative or utilize a bank’s website via the desktop.
While some of these barriers might be beyond the control of banking institutions, there is still an opportunity to boost mobile banking usage by increasing awareness and engagement with consumers. Fourteen percent of smartphone users reported that they didn’t use mobile banking because they were unsure whether their bank offered the service, while another 8% said they were never asked to sign up for it.
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