News Column

Mobile Phones and Consumer Financial Services

June 15, 2014

By Aimee L. Brown, Mortgage Daily

June 15--Undoubtedly, mobile phone use and technology have revolutionized consumers' lives the way peanut butter and jelly once made headway for the sandwich landscape. Recent studies show more consumers are taking to mobile financial services, which could be as great a convenience for them as sliced bread.

The Federal Reserve Board of Governors' Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2014 report, issued in March, revealed more consumers are using their mobile devices to access financial services, make payments and make financial decisions.

Of the 2,657 respondents who completed the survey, the number of all mobile phone users who accessed banking services through their phones over the past 12 months rose to a third, compared to 28 percent a year early.

Another 12 percent of survey participants not currently using mobile banking services said they were likely to do so within the next year.

While checking account balances or recent transactions was the most common mobile banking activity, 17 percent of all users made a mobile payment with then past 12 months, a two percentage point increase. The most common mobile payment involved bill payment through an online system, which jumped up to 66 percent over 42 percent last year.

Where financial decision making is concerned, the report revealed 69 percent of mobile banking users checked account balances before making large purchases in the past 12 months. Over half of those users decided against the purchase due to their account balances or credit limits. As well, 24 percent of smartphone users track purchases and expenses through their phones.

Despite the increase in mobile finance usage, non-users listed two main reasons for not adopting the technology: security concerns and not seeing the increased benefits over current banking and payment methods.

On June 12, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced a request for information, in The Federal Register, on how consumers use mobile technology to access financial services and the potential the technology has for improving the financial health of consumers who are underserved, low-income or live in areas without convenient access to traditional banking services.

During the comment period, which expires Sept. 10, the CFPB also wants to understand what, if any, potential consumer protections issues exist for economically vulnerable consumers who access financial services with their mobile devices. In addition to individual consumers and consumer groups, financial service providers, financial institutions and payment providers are all encouraged to submit comments.

In the What I Wish I Knew About the Homebuying Process online survey, conducted by Research Now for Chase, Chief Marketing Officer for Chase Mortgage Banking Lisa Foradori pointed to the company's My New Home mobile application, available for Apple and Android users, for consumers to access online educational materials.

Brentwood, Tenn.-based Churchill Mortgage also offers help for information-seeking homebuyers through free homebuyer reports, provided on the company's newly created mobile-compatible website. The company's May 27 press release reported mobile downloads for those report had reached the 100,000 mark.

Churchill's mobile-friendly site also features a home analyzer for current mortgage holders to compare rates and a mortgage calculator that allows consumers to figure out monthly payments, interest rates and other mortgage costs.


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Source: Mortgage Daily

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