Mobile Banking on Smartphones

Americans love their smartphones: an average of 61.5 million Americans owned a smartphone in the final quarter of 2010, according to comScore. And although a lot of bank customers aren’t too crazy about banking on those smartphones yet, banks are continuing to push mobile banking for their checking accounts, savings accounts and other products.

Mass adoption of smartphones is pushing mobile banking forward A new study Corporate Insight, an industry research firm, finds that of the 16 large banks they survey, all but one offer some kind of mobile banking option to accountholders. Here are some of the other highlights from the study:

• Chase is the top-performing firm, with Bank of America and Wells Fargo also receiving high marks for their mobile banking features and options.
• Standard mobile banking features currently include the ability to check account balances, view recent transactions and conduct in-house fund transfers, though several firms include the ability to execute external transfers as well.
• All but one of the firms monitored by Corporate Insight enable clients to locate nearby ATMs or branches while on the go.
• 40 percent of banking firms offer SMS (short message service, also known as “texting”) banking as a supplementary way for clients access their current account balance information.
• 83 percent of firms that offer banking through mobile applications also offer Bill Pay functionality via these apps.
• U.S. Bank and Chase are the only two firms to offer rewards information through mobile banking.

Overall, the adoption of mobile banking is a great thing for customers. Having the ability to perform pretty much every important account maintenance function sitting in your pocket or purse is incredibly useful, especially in terms of avoiding overdrafts and other unpleasant outcomes.

It’s easy to understand why banks are pushing mobile banking, too. Not only is it a way to appeal to a younger demographic than traditional branch banking, but mobile banking customers have higher average deposit balances ($64,303 vs. the market average of $48,384) and a higher average net worth ($341,017 vs. the market average of $281,263) than customers that rely on traditional banking methods, according to a Nielsen survey.Plus, more mobile banking customers mean fewer people banking at physical branches, allowing banks to cut back on staff, especially if the banks implement a Mobile Remote Deposit Capture solution like Mobile Deposit where the users don’t even need to find a banks or ATM to make a deposit.

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