US m-payments and banking adoption grows rapidly

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The number of US consumers using their phones for mobile banking and mobile payments is growing significantly across all consumer segments, with exponential growth seen among the younger generations, according to a study released by Mercatus.

The 2009 study captured adoption and usage of mobile banking and mobile payments among more than 1,100 US consumers over the age of 18. These results were contrasted with the results from similar research conducted in 2008.

The study reveals that since 2008, in the 18 to 25 age group, the number of people with mobile banking accounts has soared, tripling from 7% in 2008 to one in five consumers (21%) in 2009. Consumers 26 to 34 are also rapidly adopting mobile banking as their numbers with accounts more than doubled from 7%to 16%. Overall, consumer adoption of mobile banking has grown from 7% to 11%, an increase of more than 50%.

‘People are not only using their phones to conduct day-to-day banking transactions, they are now using them to make payments or transfer money. As consumers become more comfortable with the technology, adoption and usage will continue to grow rapidly – among all age groups,’ says Bob Hedges, managing partner, Mercatus.

Hedges specifically pointed to the impressive growth from 2008 to 2009 in consumers who are using their phones to make payments. Consumers were specifically asked whether they had actually purchased something, paid for something or transferred money using their phone. Overall mobile payments adoption grew from 5% in 2008 to 8% in 2009. More dramatic growth was witnessed in younger generations, as adoption among the 18 to 25 year old group grew from 7% 2008 to 18% in 2009 and among 26 to 34 year olds from 7% to 14%.

‘The pace of mobile payments adoption is accelerating, and overall penetration is approaching the inflection point where mobile payments become broadly embraced by consumers, and we believe that the young will drive this adoption as they have done with other digital media and mobile applications,’ continues Hedges. ‘Consumer interest is going to get major financial service providers off the sidelines.’