Online Banking Use Grows Due to Mobile Access

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Mercator Advisory Group survey finds U.S. adults, especially young adults, increasingly prefer to conduct bank transactions by smartphone.

Excerpt of one of the 26 exhibits in this report

Consumers are increasingly taking advantage of the convenience of performing banking activities by mobile phone.

The most recent Insight Report from Mercator Advisory Group’s CustomerMonitor Survey Series in its Primary Data Service reveals that more U.S. adults than in previous years are using online banking, but fewer are using their computers to do so. The survey findings are based on responses from a sample of 3,000 U.S. adults with banking relationships collected in the company’s CustomerMonitor Survey Series annual online Banking and Channels survey, conducted in November 2014.

The report, titled Online Banking, Bill-Pay, and P2P: Mobile Access Spurs Growth, reveals that 86% of U.S. adults manage their accounts electronically and 79% make banking transactions electronically, up slightly from 2013 figures. More consumers today check balances and account activities and receive alerts from their financial institutions to help manage their accounts more effectively, but fewer are using their computers to do so. Instead, more opt to do these activities on their mobile devices. Similarly, more consumers are paying bills, depositing checks, and transferring funds to another person’s account electronically, but fewer are doing so by computer. The greater accessibility of mobile devices for managing their accounts and making bank transactions is encouraging more consumers to take advantage of this, particularly the young adults.

Consumers are beginning to rely more heavily on online banking as their digital “branch” or banking source for managing their accounts and for customer service according to the survey. That digital channel, while now primarily computer-based, is shifting toward mobile devices, as more consumers prefer to make bank transactions using their smartphones (17% in 2014, up from 13% in 2013) and fewer prefer to transact on their desktop or laptop computers (74% in 2014, down from 78% in 2013). Young adults appear to be driving much of the shift to mobile, the millennials (aged 18–34) being even more likely than average to prefer to use smartphones (26%) and tablets (12%) and less likely than average to prefer computers (63%) to make bank transactions.

The report Online Banking, Bill-Pay, and P2P: Mobile Access Spurs Growth highlights trends in use of online banking by computer and mobile platforms, communication methods with financial institutions, use of personal financial management (PFM) tools, alerts, online bill-payment methods and electronic billing, person-to-person (P2P) money transfers and demographics of recent account openers. The study evaluates the account opening process online, U.S. consumers’ preferences of platform for making bank transactions, their use of P2P money transfers, and their willingness to pay for expedited services.

“Consumers are increasingly taking advantage of the convenience of performing banking activities by mobile phone as more consumers perform electronic banking activities, especially on mobile devices,” states Karen Augustine, author of the report and manager of Primary Data Services at Mercator Advisory Group, which includes the CustomerMonitor Survey Series.

Highlights of this Insight Report include:

  • Trending of mobile Internet access via different access methods, online and mobile banking activities, and primary method of access for banking transactions
  • Demographics of recent account openers, online vs. other methods, satisfaction with online account opening, and need for additional assistance
  • Shifts in communication methods with financial institutions, and banking activities performed by computer and mobile platforms
  • Usage breakdown of electronic payments, e-billing and financial management tools, tax preparation and personal financial management software, and changes in use of PFM tools
  • Use of money transfers to another person’s account abroad and internationally and willingness to pay for same-day transfers
  • Use and preference of primary FI or other type of provider for P2P transfers

The report is 53 pages long and contains 26 exhibits.

Members of Mercator Advisory Group CustomerMonitor Survey Series Service have access to this report as well as the upcoming research for the year ahead, presentations, analyst access and other membership benefits.

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About Mercator Advisory Group
Mercator Advisory Group is the leading independent research and advisory services firm exclusively focused on the payments and banking industries. We deliver pragmatic and timely research and advice designed to help our clients uncover the most lucrative opportunities to maximize revenue growth and contain costs. Our clients range from the world's largest payment issuers, acquirers, processors, merchants and associations to leading technology providers and investors. Mercator Advisory Group is also the publisher of the online payments and banking news and information portal

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Emily Bergeron
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