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Harris Interactive Study Shows Increase in Mobile Banking

March 12, 2008

Sitting in the bank drive-through lane on a Friday afternoon is not a favorite activity for anyone -- but nevertheless it is one that millions of Americans partake in simply to deposit a paycheck and perhaps get a little cash for the weekend.

For those of us who opt to take the direct deposit route, either because it is more convenient or because it is available, we are able to avoid the Friday routine. Instead, other methods must be used to acquire cash and manage our banking. For many, this management is done our own PC, but may no longer be the most convenient – especially when on-the-go.

Mobile baking is also picking up speed, and this is not referring to sitting in your car in the drive-through lane. Instead, consumers are increasingly making banking and purchase transactions while on-the-go, according to a new Harris Interactive (News - Alert) study.

The survey found that 16 percent of mobile phone subscribers already use mobile baking services, with 60 percent of these peoples using the services at least once a week.

Many others expressed interest in mobile baking, with 35 percent open to checking account balances and transferring funds with their mobile devices. Another 33 percent of those surveyed reported that they would like to receive text message alerts from their financial institutions.

The survey also found that 25 percent of mobile users with mobile access to the Internet now use their devices to buy goods and services online via a credit card. Another 20 percent said they would like to someday use their phones like a “mobile wallet” where charges would be billed directly to their mobile accounts. Still 10 percent said they would consider wire transfers and stock trading via their mobile phones.

"Today's mobile devices are the springboard for a whole raft of services, with huge pent-up demand for mobile commerce capabilities," said Joseph Porus, vice president, Harris Interactive, in a Wednesday statement.

"If security concerns can be quelled, the sky's the limit with consumer acceptance of mobile banking and purchase transactions. It's a very intriguing prospect for the near future, considering how people have already embraced a variety of mobile technologies beyond simple phone communications."

The biggest barrier to consumer acceptance of mobile banking and commerce among those surveyed is security concerns over personal data. Apprehension was expressed by 66 percent over the use of their mobile phone to transmit sensitive financial information.

Roughly the same amount report fears of exposure to potential fraud and financial scams and 61 percent worry about losing a mobile phone containing personal financial information. Other concerns include questions about usability, reliability and the speed of the wireless network.

"While the survey indicates people have concerns associated with using mobile devices for financial transactions, it's similar to the evolution of the Internet as a viable tool for banking and buying," Porus continued.

"We expect mobile technology to only improve and become even more secure in the coming years. This should ease people's fears and make mobile commerce appealing in the future."

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Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC (News - Alert) and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.

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