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U.S. Consumers More Willing to Bank, Make Payments Via Mobile Device

They still lag the rest of the world, but 16% of U.S. consumers now say they're comfortable with mobile banking and mobile payments, according to a KPMG study.

There have been several studies this year showing U.S. consumers' growing acceptance of mobile banking. The latest one from tax and audit advisory firm KPMG, is the largest we've seen: it drew responses from 5,600 people in 22 countries.

According to the survey, 19 percent of U.S. consumers have conducted banking transactions on a mobile device, compared to only 9 percent when KPMG conducted the same survey 18 months ago.

U.S. consumers age 16-24 conducted mobile banking the most with 33 percent of the respondents in this bracket indicating they have conducted banking on a mobile device. Among all U.S. respondents who have not conducted banking through a mobile device, 52 percent cited security and privacy as the primary reason.

"Mobile banking is gaining popularity and acceptance as consumers discover the utility it provides and the secure nature of the platform," said Carl Carande, a principal in KPMG LLP's Banking and Finance Advisory practice, in a statement. "To continue to spur adoption, banks may need to continue to educate consumers about the security of the mobile banking environment and further promote the availability of this vehicle that helps make banking more accessible and convenient."

Banks might also want to think about marketing their mobile offerings more heavily. Nearly three-quarters of U.S. respondents said that their current bank either does not offer banking through a mobile device or that they did not know if their bank offered this service.

U.S. respondents who said they were comfortable using their mobile devices for financial transactions (e.g. mobile banking and mobile payment transactions) grew to 16 percent, a six percent increase from the last survey. Respondents not comfortable with such usage declined to 55 percent, an 11 percent drop from the last survey.

Globally, one-third of consumers say they are comfortable with mobile banking.

"U.S. consumers are warming up to the 'mobile wallet' concept in which the mobile device will function as a payment and financial transaction instrument," said Mitch Siegel, director in KPMG LLP's Banking and Finance Advisory practice. "Banks are actively engaged in developing platforms and interfaces that will make this concept seamless and familiar for the consumer, while also developing business relationships with players involved in developing the end-to-end eco-system."

In other findings, more than 10 percent of the U.S. consumers indicated in the new survey that they used their mobile device to buy something from a retailer's mobile site. This doubles the 2008 responses, but trails global consumers (28 percent) who bought from retail mobile sites.

In addition, 10 percent of the U.S. consumers said they conducted an investment transaction — such as buying or selling stock — on their mobile device. By comparison, nearly 30 percent of global consumers said they had conducted such a transaction.

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