New report explores mobile use, banking habits among US adults

Here’s perception clashing with reality: Only 17 percent of adults think they spend too much time on their mobile phone, but 56 percent think others are guilty of overuse.

This pot-and-kettle finding comes from the third annual “Bank of America Trends in Consumer Mobility Report,” an exploration of mobile trends and banking behaviors among U.S. adults who own a smartphone and have an existing banking relationship at a financial institution.

The report revealed that 62 percent of respondents use mobile or online as their preferred method of banking, significantly up from 51 percent in 2015.

More than half (54 percent) of consumers also say they are active users of a mobile banking app, up from 48 percent last year.

And of those mobile banking users, 35 percent access the app once a day or more, while 84 percent check once a week or more.

Millennials are especially active banking app users. Three-quarters of this group say that they constantly access it, with 45 percent checking at least once a day and 21 percent checking several times a day.

The survey also reveals that:

  • most users check balances and statements (85 percent), transfer money between accounts (58 percent) and pay bills (52 percent) when accessing the app;
  • 87 percent of respondents use mobile banking alerts and notifications; top alerts include fraud and unusual activity (54 percent), deposit made (52 percent) and low balance (43 percent); and
  • when they receive an alert, 71 percent of consumers take action, contacting the bank (42 percent), transferring money between accounts (39 percent) and changing spending habits (24 percent).

Digital payments are also increasing in adoption — 40 percent of respondents say they would use or already use their phone to make purchases at checkout, up from 34 percent in 2015.

Additional report findings:

  • 59 percent of Americans own multiple devices and 24 percent own three or more;
  • many consumers trust their mobile device more than their significant other or family member for advice on directions (53 percent), entertainment (25 percent), medical care (22 percent) and financial services (19 percent);
  • 55 percent of adults say their mobile self differs from their in-person self and that their smartphone makes them more confident (25 percent), more likely to share (23 percent) or funnier (16 percent).

Braun Research Inc, an independent market research company, conducted a nationally representative telephone survey on behalf of Bank of America March 29–April 12. Braun surveyed 1,004 U.S. adults age 18 or older who have a current banking relationship (checking or savings) and a smartphone. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percent with a 95 percent confidence level.

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