Consumers are embracing the convenience of mobile banking solutions. A new survey by the Federal Reserve Board found that 28 percent of all mobile phone owners used their devices for banking at least once in the past 12 months. That’s an increase over 2012, when 21 percent used their mobile devices for banking.
Naturally, smartphone users have a much higher mobile device banking rate than non-smartphone users. Forty-eight percent of all smartphone owners banked on their mobile phones at least once, up from 42 percent in 2012. The vast majority – 87 percent – of active mobile consumers use their devices for simple tasks like checking balances and reviewing recent transactions.
But 21 percent of mobile bankers used their phones to deposit a check in the past 12 months, more than double the rate seen in a 2012 survey.
Understanding the Mobile Divide
While consumers are gradually migrating to mobile solutions, confidence in the security of those mobile websites and applications is a concern. Consumer confidence in mobile device banking security decreased from 38 percent in 2012 to 34 percent this year, including a decline in mobile app confidence from 42 percent to 38 percent.
Meanwhile, 36 percent of consumers said they weren’t convinced of the overall safety of mobile browser banking, up from 30 percent of consumers who said the same in 2012. This could point more to a lack of education and information regarding mobile security than to legitimate security threats, but it’s still a hurdle mobile marketers will need to address and overcome.
While the majority of mobile users consider their technology to be reliable in protecting personal information, half of all non-mobile users admitted they “don’t know” whether banking on mobile devices is secure, and to what degree. Such consumer hesitance could be a barrier to consumers adopting more in-depth banking actions, such as depositing checks via mobile apps and making mobile payments. If left unaddressed, it could also slow down the rate at which consumers convert to mobile device banking.
Creating a More Secure Mobile Banking Experience
The challenge facing banking institutions and mobile marketers is twofold. First, more secure applications and technologies are needed to minimize the risk of security breaches, information theft and other potential hazards of mobile device banking. Given the relative youth of the technology, its reputation is inherently fragile and could be damaged by even a single banking institution’s mobile security breach.
Once better mobile security is in place, marketers will have to develop strategies to inform existing and prospective mobile consumers about the safety of their software. And with 54 percent of consumers failing to see the need for or value of mobile banking, marketers will have to sell the value and appeal of mobile banking as it compares to traditional banking.
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