On March 27, 2013, the Federal Reserve released a report on consumers’ use of mobile banking and mobile payments. The report follows a similar report issued by the Federal Reserve last year. The report found that use of mobile banking has increased significantly in the past year while use of mobile payments has increased as well.
As of November 2012, 28 percent of all mobile phone users (compared to 21 percent in December 2011) and 48 percent of smartphone users (compared to 42 percent in December 2011) had used mobile banking in the past 12 months. The recent report found that 15 percent of all smartphone users have made a payment from their phone in the past 12 months, compared to 12 percent of users from the prior report. In addition, the use of mobile phones to deposit checks has doubled in the past year, rising from approximately 10 percent to 21 percent.
The most common uses of mobile banking are to check account balances or recent transactions (87 percent of users) and to transfer money between accounts (53 percent of users). The most common use of mobile payments is to make online bill payments (42 percent of users). Six percent of all smartphone users have made a point-of-sale payment using their phone in the past 12 months, which represents a sizable increase from the one percent of users in December 2011.
The primary reason consumers have not adopted mobile banking services is that they feel as though their banking needs are being met without mobile banking. The primary reason consumers have not adopted mobile payments is the concern over security. This concern also is the second most prevalent reason why consumers have not adopted mobile banking services.
The report reiterated the reliance of the underbanked on mobile banking and mobile payments. In the past 12 months, almost 50 percent of underbanked consumers reported use of mobile banking and more than 30 percent reported use of mobile payments.