8 findings from Fed’s mobile banking and payments study


Consumers likely are not just shopping for their next vehicle with their mobile device. They’re probably going to be making installment contract payments with those devices, too, if they’re not doing so already.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston recently released results of an elaborate study with multiple Federal Reserve Banks and other financial institutions about their mobile banking and payment practices and plans.

Policymakers stated the study confirms that mobile banking comprises a standard and maturing set of services for consumers, offered by 89 percent of respondents, and that retail mobile payment services, while not yet widespread, are already offered by 24 percent of survey respondents.

Officials highlighted that the following eight points are mobile banking findings common to institutions across most districts:

—Retail mobile banking is ubiquitous at U.S. financial institutions: Eighty-nine percent of financial institution respondents currently offer mobile banking services to consumers; and 97 percent will offer these service by 2018.

—By 2018, 77 percent of bank and 47 percent of credit union respondents anticipate providing mobile banking services to other customer segments including commercial and small business, government agencies, educational entities, and non-profits – commercial and small business are the most prevalent.

—Nearly all financial institutions offer or plan to offer mobile apps that support the two dominant mobile operating systems: Ninety-eight percent to support Apple iOS and 97 percent to support Android OS.

—Most respondents offer or plan to offer the following services to consumers: ability to check balances (92 percent); transfer funds between their accounts within the FI (90 percent); mobile enrollment (71 percent); and single sign-on capabilities (61 percent).

—Of those financial institutions tracking customer adoption, 54 percent now have more than 20 percent of their retail customers enrolled in mobile banking; and 44 percent have more than 20 percent actively using these services.

—Among financial institutions offering and tracking business mobile banking adoption, more than half (55 percent) still have adoption rates less than 5 percent.

—Mobile banking is essentially a free service to retail customers; only eight percent either charge or plan to charge an explicit mobile banking fee and only for some advanced services; however, 25 percent of respondents currently charge or are considering fees for mobile banking services to business customers.

—The key mobile banking security concern cited by respondents is the consumer’s lack of protective behavior. In response, financial institutions have implemented a range of mitigation controls — more than 80 percent support inactivity timeouts and multi-factor authentication (MFA), as well as mobile alerts –to enhance security and help change consumer behavior.


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