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Consumer awareness reigns as main factor in mobile banking: study

July 18, 2011

Although mobile has become a vital part of financial institutions’ strategies, many banks are missing the mark by not getting the word out about their mobile options to consumers, according to a study by Mercatus.

The study found that the majority of consumers surveyed knew what mobile banking was in general. However, the research found a substantially lower percentage of bank users surveyed knew if their particular bank offered mobile services.

“There was a wide disconnect between consumers surveyed who knew about mobile banking and consumers who knew about their bank’s mobile efforts, showing that consumers aren’t being educated enough on their bank’s options,” said Teresa Epperson, partner at Mercatus LLC, Boston.

Mercatus LLC is a strategy and research firm that works with retail financial services.

Unused mobile
The study took place in May 2011 via an online panel.
More than 3,000 consumers were surveyed about their mobile banking knowledge.

The results of the study show numbers from ten of the biggest financial institutions in the U.S. and ask consumers to assess their general familiarity with mobile banking and their awareness of their primary bank’s mobile solutions.

All of the banks surveyed saw bigger numbers of generally informed consumers than users who knew about their bank’s mobile opportunities.

For example, 66 percent consumers from one major-player bank said they knew what mobile banking was, but only 36 percent of them knew if the bank used mobile.

The report also names Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase as the top three banking providers and were successful in educating their consumers about mobile.

The top three banks were also most likely to bring in consumers who wanted to switch banks for mobile needs.

“Banks that had high mobile awareness were more likely to capture high people who were switching banks due to mobile needs,” Ms. Epperson said.

Bank ahead
The study is proof that there is a gap between consumer needs and bank needs when it comes to mobile.

Although Ms. Epperson said she expects to see more financial institutions rolling out mobile platforms this fall, it is not an area banks should take lightly. In particular, she stressed the importance of doing more than just developing mobile applications – banks need to talk to their customers as well to inform them.

“The top three providers have huge momentum to leverage mobile for their consumers because they have educated and promoted mobile to their consumers,” Ms. Epperson said.

“In order for other banks to compete, they have to start spending more time and energy to integrate mobile into the core values of the company,” she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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