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Mobile is Now Mainstream: Report

Mobile banking features play an increasingly critical role in the consumer’s decision to switch primary banks, according to a survey from AlixPartners.

Mobile now plays a crucial role in bank-switching decisions made by consumers, according to a new report from AlixPartners.

According to the "AlixPartners Mobile Financial Services Tracking Study," 60 percent of smartphone or tablet owners who switched primary banks reported mobile banking capabilities as “important” or “extremely important” in their decision to switch, up from 48 percent in a similar survey in the first half of 2013.

The study also shows strong growth in the adoption of mobile banking services overall, with mobile banking now being used by 28 percent of U.S. banking consumers, up four percentage points from the survey in the first half of 2013, and up nine percentage points from AlixPartners’ fourth quarter survey of 2012. According to AlixPartners, this trend will likely continue as smartphone, tablet and other digital device sales increase and as U.S. consumers spend more time using mobile devices for banking transactions, including for checking bank balances, looking at monthly statements, making account transfers and paying bills.

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Further, as consumer adoption of mobile banking grows, the consumer’s use of higher-cost banking channels, such as traditional branch service and live customer-service call centers, appears to be declining, the report found. According to the study, mobile-banking users reported visiting a bank branch 39 percent fewer times per month after adopting mobile banking services.

Spotlighting the importance of innovation, mobile remote deposit capture (RDC) adoption is growing steadily among the banked population as more banks roll out mobile deposit-taking capabilities, the survey found. Across smartphone or tablet owners of all ages, according to the study, RDC adoption is growing fast, now up to 22 percent, from 18 percent in AlixPartners’ survey in early 2013. According to the recent study, the largest group of RDC adopters tend to be younger and wealthier, and to use more of the products available at their primary bank than non-adopters.

“We will increasingly see banks developing and rolling out capabilities aimed at addressing specific consumer pain points and opportunities to add value. If mobile RDC is viewed as the current ‘big attraction’ in the ongoing wave of industry innovations on behalf of consumers, mobile photo bill pay could be the next big thing,” said Teresa Epperson, managing director in the Financial Services Practice at AlixPartners, in a statement.

[Related Content: "Killer App" Will Drive Widespread Mobile Payments Adoption]

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 a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Author
3/13/2014 | 5:23:44 PM
re: Mobile is Now Mainstream: Report
So how do you think this jibes with some of the other research we've reported in the past few weeks: that many consumers still favor branches, that there are concerns about the security of mobile banking, etc. Why are there so many seemingly contradictory findings coming out about mobile banking popularity and challenges? Do you think we're even asking the right questions about mobile banking right now?
Nathan Golia
Nathan Golia,
User Rank: Author
3/13/2014 | 5:42:59 PM
re: Mobile is Now Mainstream: Report
And of course we recently reported in insurance that adoption of insurers' mobile capabilities by their customers is actually in the single digits. Goes to show just how many more points of contact there are in the banking world compared to other industries.
User Rank: Author
3/13/2014 | 11:11:19 PM
re: Mobile is Now Mainstream: Report
I would guess that the answer has something to do with the need for multi-channel. I don't think that there are many customers out there who only use mobile and online, or only use the branch and the call center. People want it all. They trust mobile for some things, but will only do others in the branch. Look at social media: customers want to have their questions answered on Twitter, but they don't trust it yet to do transactions through it. The important about mobile is that the very young customers do favor it much more heavily so its role is assured to grow in the future.
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