December 21, 2011

A Javelin report finds that more customers access mobile banking via a mobil browser, though downloadable apps are gaining and considered more secure.

The mobile Web browser is the most widely used mobile banking channel and is perceived by consumers to be the most secure, according to Javelin Strategy & Research's Mobile Banking Security report issued this week. The survey evaluated the specific security issues mobile banking customers face when using three mobile banking channels: Web browser, app, and SMS texting.

Forty-four percent of those surveyed said they use a web browser for mobile banking. Mobile banking using a downloaded app is the second most widely used channel, at 25 percent, and actually the safest for mobile banking, according to Javelin. App banking has the potential to replace online banking altogether and serve as the consumer's primary access to the FI, the survey predicts.

SMS banking, used by 19 percent of mobile bankers, is declining in popularity and is the least secure channel, according to the report.

Javelin surveyed more than 3,000 consumers about their mobile banking preferences and concerns to establish profiles of SMS, mobile browser, and application bankers for the report. Javelin also evaluated the user benefits and security risks of each mobile banking channel and the Apple, Android, and Windows 7 mobile platforms.

Overall, mobile banking is on the rise, with 28 percent of all mobile phone users using it in 2011, but security remains a top concern.

"We're seeing the second wave of consumer adoption of mobile banking," said James Van Dyke, President of Javelin. "It used to be that consumers didn't use mobile banking because they didn't see the value in it. They weren't as concerned with security. Now, more consumers cite security as the main reason they don't use mobile banking. Our analysis and recommendations will help FIs address security concerns and gain a larger installed base of mobile bankers."

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as ...