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38pc use mobile frequently for remote check deposits: Bank of America

July 1, 2014

Bank of America's mobile banking application.

Bank of America’s mobile banking application.

Nearly one in four people use mobile frequently to deposit checks in a bank, as mobile’s transformational impact continues to spread to personal finance, according to a new report from Bank of America.

Its survey found that as customers increasingly access a banking mobile application, the most common activities include monitoring account balances and statements, transferring funds and paying bills, as well as depositing checks via mobile check deposit, although visits to bank branches also remain high. The results reflect the public’s increasing comfort level with using mobile for even the most sensitive and important financial transactions.

“There’s no question that an on-the-go lifestyle is now considered the norm, and that a mobile mindset has been adopted,” said Marc Warshawsky, mobile banking executive with Bank of America, based in Charlotte, NC.

“It’s no different when it comes to financial services. Banks are expected to deliver mobile banking options that meet customers where they are, when they need it, at all times.”

Branch visits high

The survey found that while mobile and online banking services are becoming more widely used, and in many cases are consumers’ primary method of banking, 84 percent of respondents visited a bank branch in the past six months. However, just 23 percent of respondents said they complete the majority of their banking transactions at a branch.

Nearly half (47 percent) turn to mobile or online as their preferred method. Ninety-one percent say their mobile phone is just as important as their car and deodorant; and significantly more important than television (76 percent) and coffee (60 percent). The report also found that the youngest millennials aged 18-24 are most likely to view their mobile phones as very important (96 percent) – more so than deodorant (90 percent) and even their toothbrush (93 percent).

According to the report, nearly six in 10 (58 percent) of those surveyed have used mobile check deposit, and nearly four in 10 (38 percent) use it frequently. Consumers who say they do not use mobile check deposit cite lack of awareness as the chief reason: more than one-third (35 percent) are either not as familiar as they would like to be or unsure how to use the feature.

More than one in five surveyed (21 percent) prefer physically handing checks to a teller, and 27 percent report they just do not have any checks to deposit.

Important channel

Mobile has quickly become an important channel for banks and the preferred way of banking for an increasing number of consumers. In its 2014 U.S. Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark, Forrester Research said the group performs well in providing account information and transaction options in cross-channel efforts spanning from native apps to mobile Web (see story).

However, it said improvements need to be made in offering self-service features, money management tools and cross-selling of other products. For example, most banking customers are not able to report fraud cases or dispute transactions in question through mobile. Bank of America has made mobile a top priority by recently improving its mobile banking application with several new self-service features and easier accessibility to frequently used information (see story).

Forrester’s report ranked B of A’s mobile experience as third best among leading banks.

Survey methodology

The Bank of America Trends in Consumer Mobility Report was based on the findings of market research company Braun Research, Inc., which between May 6 and 23 surveyed 1,000 U.S. 18 and over with a checking or savings bank account and a smartphone. The survey was conducted by phone. Researchers also surveyed 300 adults in eight cities. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percent.

Chase mobile app with check-deposit feature_opt

Chase mobile app with check-deposit feature.

The findings are in line with those of research firms.

Jordan McKee of Boston-based Yankee Group said the consulting firm’s 2014 US Mobile Marketing and Commerce Survey showed mobile banking adoption up 13 percent since 2011, with 2 in 5 consumers having used the service in the past three months and an additional 43 percent interested in doing so.

“It’s important to recognize that while mobile will play an integral role in the future of banking, it isn’t the be-all and end-all,” Mr. McKee said. “Consumers want to leverage the channel that is most convenient for them at a given time and place.

While mobile is undoubtedly becoming dominant choice, the branch, interactive voice response and automated teller machinesall have a place in future of banking, albeit an evolving one. “For banks, this means a channel specific view of a customer is fairly useless,” Mr. McKee said. “Providing a consistent experience across all channels and developing an understanding of how customers interact with each channel will be crucial to success moving forward.”

The survey pointed to similar developments in the years ahead.

“We expect mobile adoption and mobile capabilities to continue to expand,” Mr. Warshawsky said. “We look for mobile to not only have parity with other channels over time, but also be a key proving ground for financial services innovation.”

Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.

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