The use of mobile phones to access a bank account, credit card, or other financial account became more prevalent in the Unites States last year, according to the Federal Reserve Board’s latest report on the use of mobile financial services. As of November 2012, 28% of all mobile phone users and 48% of smartphone users had used mobile banking in the past 12 months. This is a significant increase from 21% in December 2011 for mobile phone users and 42% for smartphone users. While relatively less common, the use of mobile phones to make payments at the point-of-sale increased threefold over the same period, with 6% of smartphone owners having used their phone to make a purchase.
The Federal Reserve Board completed its first Survey of Consumers’ Use of Mobile Financial Services in December 2011, and released a summary report in March 2012. The Board conducted a second survey in late November 2012 to monitor trends in the use of mobile financial services, and to understand how the rapidly expanding use of this technology affects consumer decisionmaking and the overall economy.
The most common mobile banking activities continue to be reviewing account balances, monitoring recent transactions, or transferring money between accounts. Notably, the use of mobile phones to deposit checks has doubled between surveys, with 21% of mobile banking users having deposited a check with their phone in the 12 months prior to November 2012.
Mobile phones are also increasingly used to help make decisions while shopping. Among smartphone owners, 42% had used their phone to compare prices while shopping and 44% had used their phones to browse product reviews in store. Almost two-thirds of those who had used their phone to do price comparisons had changed where they made their purchase based on that information.
The survey was conducted on behalf of the Board by GfK (formerly Knowledge Networks), an online consumer research firm. Data collection began November 16, 2012, and concluded on November 27, 2012. Nearly 2,600 respondents completed the survey.
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