News Column

Mobile Banking Usage Up, Banks Need to Adapt

March 8, 2013

Staff -- HispanicBusiness

iPad (file photo)
iPad (file photo)

When it comes to mobile banking, the financial industry is quickly learning that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work in capturing the Hispanic market.

A new study by Zpryme and Thinknow Research looked at mobile banking usage trends of Hispanics on tablets and smartphones. What the study found was that banks who wish to attract and retain Hispanic customers in the U.S. must now adapt their marketing and customer service strategies to meet evolving mobile banking needs.

According to the study's authors, nearly 70 percent of Hispanics use their smartphone to do mobile banking, while 47 percent access financial accounts via their mobile tablets. The number is only going to increase, and financial institutions such as Wells Fargo, Chase and Bank of America know it. That's why banks are dedicating substantial marketing dollars to court this demographic.

"A major challenge for banks has been that the typical or average Hispanic consumer is a moving target with many moving pieces," the authors wrote. "A segment of Hispanics are speeding up the social and economic ladder, while others are slowly getting accustomed to U.S. cultural norms. That said, the large majority of Hispanics across nationalities, language, and social and economic classes are rapidly embracing mobile technology such as smartphones and tablets."

Among the other findings in the study:

-- Nearly one-third (30 percent) said they would switch their primary banks to get mobile banking services.
-- Hispanics with incomes above $70,000 were significantly more likely to use mobile banking on a tablet than those with incomes below $70,000.
-- iPhone and iPad owners were significantly more likely to use mobile banking more frequently than non-iPhone and iPad owners.
-- Among those who do not have a bank account, 13 percent said they would be "very likely" to open a bank account on their mobile device if the option were available to them.

The authors suggested that banks incorporate social networking sites to address banking issues that could lead to greater customer loyalty. They also recommend that banks make sure both Spanish and English versions of the mobile-banking experience are fault-free and are a positive experience for customers.

Zpryme and ThinkNow Research administered the survey via the Internet, surveying 500 adult Hispanics between ages 18 and 70 in October 2012. The report was released earlier this week.

For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel

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