WASHINGTON (3/26/14)--The number of consumers that used mobile phones to access credit union and bank accounts in 2013 rose to 33%, a sharp, five-percentage-point increase over 2012's total, the Federal Reserve Board said in a report released Tuesday.
Additionally, the Fed report found that smartphone users really tipped the balance in mobile phone banking. In 2013, 51% of smartphone users had used mobile banking applications.
Consumers most frequently used their phones to review account balances, monitor recent transactions and transfer money between accounts, the Fed said. In addition, 38% of mobile banking users deposited a paper check with their phone's camera in 2013.
The underbanked were frequent users of mobile financial services: 39% of underbanked consumers with mobile phones used mobile banking last year.
"Mobile phones may also allow for the extension of financial services to an additional 10% of the population that is unbanked…as 69% of this group has a mobile phone, 64% of which are smartphones," the Fed said in a release.
The ubiquitous mobile phones aren't just changing the face of banking services. Consumers are also more frequently using their phones to make purchases, compare product prices and read product reviews, according to the Fed report. Those numbers show:
17% of smartphone owners had used their phone to make a purchase at a retail store;
44% of smartphone users used their phone to compare prices while shopping; and
42% of smartphone users browsed product reviews in-store with their phone.
However, not all are embracing this technology. The Fed report noted that "well over half of mobile phone owners who do not currently use mobile banking say they have no interest in using this technology." Many are also skeptical regarding the safety and benefits of mobile in-store payments.
Data for the report was collected from 2,600 respondents. For the full Fed report, use the resource link.