The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Vision 2013

April 28, 2013

Use of mobile banking on the rise, survey finds

JOHNSTOWN — The future of banking has arrived.

It’s mobile.

Twenty-eight percent of all mobile phone owners have used mobile banking in the past 12 months, up from 21 percent a year earlier, according to a survey recently released by the Federal Reserve Board.

The report was an update of a similar survey the Fed conducted in 2011.

Forty-eight percent of all smartphone owners have used mobile banking in the past 12 months.

“Mobile devices have increasingly become tools that consumers use for banking, payments, budgeting and shopping,” the report said.

That comes as no surprise to Nancy Wessel, senior vice president for retail and alternative delivery at AmeriServ Financial.

More customers are requesting mobile banking, she said.

“You can download a free app that allows you to bank any time, anywhere,” Wessel said. “We have a full mobile solution, which as been accepted very nicely.”

The most common uses of mobile banking activities are reviewing account balances, monitoring recent transactions or transferring money between accounts, the report noted.

“Mobile banking is a great tool because it allows our customers to manage their money from anywhere, any time,” Vincent J. Delie Jr., president and CEO of FNB Corp. and CEO of First National Bank of Pennsylvania, said in an email.

“Customers want convenience,” Delie said.

While more people are using mobile banking, the Fed report indicated that many consumers remain skeptical of its benefits and the level of security it offers.

The share of consumers who say banks’ mobile apps are “very safe” or “somewhat safe fell from 42 percent to 38 percent.

“There are security concerns with any type of online access,” said Karen Addleman, vice president for electronic banking for Somerset Trust.

“We do everything technologically possible to protect the information of our customers,” she said.

“Some of the best advice we can give if they have a smartphone is to set up a password.”

Customers need to safeguard user names and passwords to prevent anyone from probing their smartphones.

“It’s imperative that you keep that information confidential, Wessel said.

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