Saturday, October 24, 2009

U.S. Banking Consumers Not Ready for Mobile?

A recent article in Reuters U.K. indicated that 95% on the U.S. households surveyed said they were so uncomfortable with conducting financial transactions on their phones that they've never used them to make a purchase on a retailer's Web site. About 48 percent of respondents cited security and privacy worries as their main reason for not banking on their cellphones, according to KPMG. "U.S. consumers snub mobile banking on security fears." Reuters UK 8 April 2009

These are staggering statistics. Every American household is uncomfortable with using a mobile phone to conduct financial transactions and 1 out every 2 said that they have security and privacy concerns.

Yet, the mobile phone is now as ubiquitous as mom's apple pie. Most Americans will leave home forgetting their wallet or purse before they forget their mobile phone. Here are some key U.S. mobile phone statistics:

  • 8 in 10 Americans own a mobile phone. This number is expected to increase to 9 in 10 by 2011.
  • 58% percent use mobile phone for other purpose than calls (84% among 18-24 year olds)
  • 6 in 10 of all population group (African American, Caucasian, Asian and Hispanics) own a mobile phone.
  • 90% of Gen Y own a mobile phone.
  • 60% of income earners $25,000 or less own a mobile phone.
  • 60% of income earners $100,000 or above own a mobile phone.
  • $1 out of $10 from Gen Y was spent on mobile products and services.
  • The list goes on...
I mentioned that 58% of mobile phone owners use the phone for a purpose other than a phone call - games, internet, camera, PDA, music, television, navigation, etc. And, now with the iPhone (and its competitors), the mobile phone is almost capable of doing everything (could surpass the Star Trek NG Tricorder).

The market for mobile banking in the United States could be one of the most lucrative banking services for the 21st century. Yet, U.S mobile banking adoption rates are the lowest in the world and the rollout of services among financial institutions has been limited.

The big names of banking, Wells Fargo, Chase, Wachovia, Bank of America, Chase, Citi and PNC, have lunched mobile banking to some degree of success.

According to Javelin Strategy and Research, consumer adoption of mobile banking is lacking due to ineffective mobile banking strategies by financial institutions. 50% of financial institutions are not adequately addressing consumer two primary mobile banking concerns.

In order for mobile banking to become as ubiquitous as the mobile phone itself, the banking industry has to make a paradigm shift about how it approaches and thinks about the mobile banking concept.

Note: To discuss this article or any other banking and financial services topics with Paul Joegriner, please contact at 240.246.5587 or

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