Many people enjoy the benefits of banking on the go, and a recent study from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has shown Mobile Banking is also driving unbanked and underbanked consumers to use traditional channels.
The 2013 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, which was conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, sought to determine how many households in the country used banking services. Per the data, 7.7 percent of households did not use banking services in 2013, representing a decline from 8.2 percent in 2011. The survey pointed to improving economic conditions and changing consumer demographics as the driving factors behind the reduced number of unbanked households.
Although the share of underbanked households was unchanged, these consumers had more ways to access their accounts. Mobile Banking in particular was popular among this group. In fact, mobile channels saw more use among underbanked households than fully banked ones.
"Mobile technologies might also become useful tools for bringing unbanked households into the financial mainstream," the FDIC said. "Innovations such as mobile account opening could play a role in expanding access to banking for the unbanked."
Why mobile is the popular choice
One driving factor behind the rise in Mobile Banking adoption is the market penetration of smartphones, according to NerdWallet. Consumers use a variety of features, from mobile transfers to checking account balances, on their phones. However, the FDIC survey noted these capabilities don't signal consumers are giving up their traditional banking channels. In fact, mobile banking tends to supplement branch and ATM banking.
Consumers are glued to their smartphones, which is indicated by the fact that nomophobia - fear of being without a mobile device, according to Business Insider - exists. Considering phones are used for anything from games to saving money on shopping, it's not surprising Mobile Banking can serve as a gateway for unbanked and underbanked consumers to visit their local branches more often.
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