Key findings: Online and mobile banking trends

  • 72% of panellists banked online or via mobile during our study
  • Mobile banking, as a % of online banking, has grown from 14% in 2012 to 34% in 2014 
  • More people use mobile banking (40%) than visit a branch/ATM (30%)
  • Men use mobile banking more than women
  • Percentage of online and mobile banking increases as household income rises
  • 54% of panellists bank from home
  • People generally feel positive when banking – especially at a branch or ATM

Consumers are increasingly looking for the convenience of online and on-the-go banking through websites and mobile apps. This has been encouraged by banking firms through the launch of improved online functionality and enhanced app experience.

We know that smartphones, tablets and on-line are now playing a big part in the interaction people have with their bank – but what are today’s online and mobile banking trends? To investigate how the US use these three main channels of banking, RealityMine have undertaken a study which examines the USA Touchpoints data of 1593 US panellists who bank either online, via mobile or by visiting an ATM or a branch. The panellists filled in an eDiary detailing their activity every 30 mins during a ten day period, providing a set of rich data that helps us to understand the latest mobile banking trends.

The rise of online and mobile banking

Both online banking (through a computer), and mobile banking (using a smartphone or tablet), have taken over traditional ATM and bank visits, with 72% of our panellists banking online during the study.

Figure 1 shows that internet banking is the favourite method of banking in every generation, although older generations are keener to manage their finances at home online, while younger generations are leading the mobile banking trend.

Mobile banking in particular, has seen a rapid rise in recent years. The last time we investigated this market was in 2012, when we focused on those with income over $75,000. At that time the proportion of mobile banking (phone and tablet) as a part of all online banking was just 14%. The same statistic in 2014 was 34%.

During the 10 days they filled in our eDiary, 40% of our panellists used mobile banking through a phone or tablet, while only 30% reported a visit to a bank or ATM.

Generational differences

There are some differences in bank and ATM visits between the generations. Those aged between 25 to 34 years visited a bank or ATM significantly less than any other age group – just 24%, compared to 31%-35% for other ages.

Mobile banking is more popular with younger age groups and becomes less prevalent as panellists get older, in favour of online.

Mobile banking trends: Method of banking by age group

Gender differences

Women and Men use online banking and visit banks or ATM’s pretty equally, although mobile banking is more popular with men than women in every generation. As Figure 2 illustrates, the difference in every age group is between 7 and 12 percentage points, and the most significant difference can be found in the 45 – 54 age group, where 39% of males use mobile banking compared to 27% of females.

Mobile banking trends: Gender differences in mobile banking

Household income and banking habits

Those with incomes of less than $25,000 a year use online banking a lot less than people with higher income levels, which is shown in figure 3 below.

People with high household income, between $100,000 and $149,000, are the most active online at 84%, while 43% of people in this income bracket used mobile banking.

As a general rule, the amount of online and mobile banking increases and branch visits become less prevalent as a percentage of overall banking, as we move through the income brackets.

Mobile banking trends: Banking by household income

Mobile app or bank website

Despite the general popularity of mobile phone and tablet app use and the increasing amount of banking apps on offer, consumers are still more likely to manage their finances via mobile website than using an app. Only two demographic groups are keener to use banking apps over websites – men between 16 and 24 and 55 to 64.

When and where

Most Americans do their banking during weekdays – Tuesday and Wednesday are the most popular for online and mobile banking, while branch and ATM banking is favoured on Fridays. Home is the most common place to bank online, with nearly half of the panellists banking from home overall. Work is also popular, with 32% of our panellists banking online or via mobile while at work.

Due to the portable nature of mobile devices, mobile banking is widely done out of home – our survey found that 11% of our panellists bank using their smartphone when travelling. Research by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co, one of the largest banking institution in the US, support this finding. In their study, 17% of consumers reveal that they do banking even while on a date.

Mobile banking trends: common places for mobile banking

Social setting around banking

For most, banking and finances are personal topics and 38% of people reported that they were on their own while banking. 19% were with their partner and 14% with children. Mobile banking is slightly more social, with 21% reporting their partner’s presence and 17% were with their children.

Most experienced positive emotions while banking, including ‘Contented’ 32%, and ‘Happy’ 15%, which were the most popular, irrespective of banking method. ‘Excitement’ and ‘Confidence’ were also widely recorded, at approximately 9%. A study by The ING group supports these findings, reporting that consumers who use mobile banking feel confident and in control of their finances.

Positive emotions, particularly of ‘Confidence’, were even more likely for those at a bank or ATM, compared with online and mobile banking.

Interestingly, these positive emotions occur as much for people with lower income levels as those with a high household income when banking using any method.

Negative emotions, such as ‘Frustration’, ‘Stress’ and ‘Worry’, were all slightly more common when doing online banking than during other banking methods. Although online banking is commonly done at work, which may also have an effect.

Mobile banking trends: emotions while banking



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