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Pew Survey: Half Of U.S. Adults Bank Online
WASHINGTON (8/12/13)--Any credit union that has buried its head in the sand about offering online banking or mobile banking will need to take note:  Over half (51%) of U.S. adults today bank online, and 32% of them transact financial business on their mobile phones.

The 51% of online-bank users account for 61% of internet users, said a new survey from the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project, whose results were announced Wednesday.

Both types of digital banking are rising. In 2010, about  46% of U.S. adults--or 58% of internet users--said they bank online. In 2011, roughly 18% of cell phone users said they used their phone to check their balance or transact business with a financial institution. Nearly double that transact by mobile phones today.

That means credit unions will need to integrate online/mobile banking and mobile payments into their overall business strategy because "mobile devices ultimately will become the primary way members interact with your credit union," said the Credit Union National Association in its Environmental Scan (E-Scan) Report for 2013-12014.

"The mobile payments space offers the single greatest opportunity--and threat--credit unions will face in the foreseeable future as third-party entrants threaten disintermediation," said CUNA's E-Scan, adding that mobile payments "offer credit unions a way to retain members--who could opt for other financial providers for the mobile opportunity alone--and realize significant revenue by partnering with retailers."  Use the link for more information about the E-Scan.

Pew noted that the percent of internet users who bank online varies by gender, race, age, education, income and whether they live in a city or rural area.  Of the 61% of internet users, 63% of those are men, compared with 58% women.  Younger people age 18-29 were more likely (67%) to bank online, compared with 65% for 30- to 49-year olds, 55% for 50 to 64-year-olds, and 47% for those 65 or older.

Whites (63%) and Hispanics (62%) were more likely than blacks (48%) to bank online. Higher education and higher income also increased the likelihood of a consumer banking online.

Mobile banking, too, had trends that varied by demographics. Thirty-five percent of all cell phone owners used their mobile phone to bank, with men and women evenly divided at 35% each, said Pew's report. Again, younger adults were more apt to use mobile banking (54% for 18- to 29-year-olds, versus 40% for those between 30 and 49, 25% for the 50-to-64 age group, and 14% for those 65 or older.  Those with college experience were one and a half times more likely that those with high school or less experience to engage in mobile banking.

However, in contrast with online banking trends, non-white cell phone owners were more likely than whites to engage in mobile banking.

Pew's research is based on two surveys: telephone interviews on mobile banking with a nationally representative sample of 1,003 adults in the U.S., and telephone interviews about online banking with a sample of 2,252 adults.

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