More U.S. consumers keen on online banking

The number of U.S. Internet users who take advantage of online banking doubled between 2004 and 2011, and mobile penetration is poised for breakthrough in 2012.

Even though U.S. consumers haven't been as quick to embrace online and mobile banking as people in other parts of the world, adoption has begun accelerating, according to new research published by digital trends research firm comScore.

comScore's 2011 edition of "State of Online and Mobile Banking" found that the number of online liquid deposit accounts (LDAs) reached 65 million customers in early 2011, which was more than double the number of accounts reported when comScore started tracking this area.

Generally speaking, the 2,000 U.S. consumers and Internet users who were surveyed by comScore were more happy with their online banking options and Web sites. Approximately 70 percent of them reported that they were satisfied.

There is a lot more upside potential to be tapped, however. Few online customers are yet taking advantage of services such as identity theft services and security protection or personal financial management applications, according to comScore.

Still, close to two-thirds of the people surveyed were using some sort of bill paying option across bank, credit card and third-party Web sites, according to comScore. That hints toward the continued adoption of paperless billing options as well as the rise of e-tailing sites. Only 29 percent of the respondents were using all three of those options, however. Concerns over security appear to be keeping them from getting deeper with their online banking relationships, the survey found.

The biggest trend to watch in 2012 will be mobile banking, the data suggest.

At the time of the survey in early 2011, 16 percent of respondents reported that they were using smartphones, tablets or another mobile device to access financial information. Of those that were taking advantage of mobile banking or financial apps, nearly three-quarters were using them at least once per week.

Noted comScore vice president for financial services, Sarah Lenart:

"As people turn to online and mobile channels to manage their financial accounts at an every increasing rate, it becomes more important for financial institutions to understand their customers' unique online needs and provide a secure and user-friendly experience for accessing financial information and conducting financial transactions. As the Internet and mobile devices continue to become an integral part of people's daily lives, digital banking channels promise further adoption and advancement in 2012."

For businesses that confer mobile devices on their employees or that allow their employees to use personal mobile devices for work purposes, this trend also points up the need for more vigilance when it comes to security and privacy policy. After a period of slow adoption, it probably is time for the corporate world to get out in front of the online and mobile banking adoption trends that relate to their unique customer base.

Yet another thing to think about during what is likely to be a very pivotal year in the adoption of mobile transactions and e-billing technologies.

(Thumbnail image by Leonardini, courtesy of Stock.xchng)

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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