Mobile Banking Still Disfavored by Many, Study Finds

Many consumers are wary of Mobile Banking services, preferring ATMs in a BT Global Services Survey

A survey by BT Global Services suggests that mobile banking may not be trusted by consumers as they favour more traditional methods of purchases over alternative payment methods.

The news may sound strange, especially following on from the abundance of mobile payment solutions information flowing through the news lately – especially the immense growth in Sub-Saharan Africa and the rollout of Blackberry hitting the mobile money space too. However, it seems that the research comes from a survey of 6,500 consumers around the world – so probably isn't the most accurate way to gauge consumer interest.

The survey found that amongst US consumers, only 13 per cent said that they would trust mobile banking more than they would other technologies. Interestingly, in other countries such as Germany and Britain the statistics were lower, coming in at 5 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

It seems that online banking, ATMs and self-service kiosks are far more popular in the western world with many US citizens favouring a visit to their local branch as it's seen as an integral part of their banking experience. Around half also said that having a local branch is the most important factor for them when switching to a new bank.

One interesting factor that had many worried about mobile banking and online banking – despite wanting there to be a single portable identity for them to switch banks effortlessly – is how much personal information banks held about them. Worrying that it would become even easier to share in the online space.

BT Global Service's president of global banking and financial markets Tom Regent said that there is "a significant level of apprehension around the creation of a shared banking infrastructure. With any new solution that the industry moves forward with, they will need to be mindful that consumers need reassurance around security and protection of their data.

"Banks are increasingly focused on providing services via smart phones and tablet devices in order to keep pace with digital changes and innovation. While this is an important strategy.

"Banks must be careful not to lose sight of the need for human contact in either the branch or via a local call center agent. Our research shows that these continue to be customers' most trusted and preferred channels."

Interestingly, consumers also wanted to make use of 24/7 banking and the availability of online transaction and banking management – all technology benefits that can be found through mobile banking services.

It may not be entirely surprising though, as it was also found that US citizens are the least interested in engaging with their bank through social media, with only 17 per cent saying they'd be happy to do so. Compare this to 39 per cent in Hong Kong and 37 per cent in Spain, it seems to paint a picture that the US may well be behind on adoption rates of new forms of communication and interaction.

The report also shows that consumers are still reserved when it comes to alternative payment providers, preferring a recognised and trusted name that can be found with banks over things like iZettle or mFoundry.

Less than 10 per cent of global consumers surveyed had tried alternative payment services. It was also noted that 62 per cent of US consumers also predict that they definitely wouldn't use these methods in the next 18 months.

Obviously with a target of 6,500 consumers globally it's hard to really state what the general population of each nation feel about the future of mobile payments and alternative payment methods, so a little pinch of salt is needed when reading into BT Global Service's report.

Do you think this paints an accurate picture of what consumers want?

Are you surprised by what findings have come from this survey?

As always, leave a comment below to let us know.


For more about the future of card payments around the world, make sure to come to Cards & Payments Africa 2013 and Cards & Payments Asia 2013 to keep up with the latest innovations.


  1. Mauro Poli

    I’m not surprise to read consumers “preferring a recognised and trusted name that can be found with banks over things like iZettle or mFoundry”.
    It is a question of trust, and it is not easy to convince people to give their money to someone else than banks…

    1. Author

      Very true indeed. It’s also telling that after the debacle around banking and banks in the UK and mainland Europe over the last year hasn’t done too much to shake people’s trust in using bank run payment platforms over third parties.

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