‘Smartphonatics’ to drive mobile banking and payment demand

Some consumers are more likely to use their smartphones as electronic wallets than others, but adoption of these payment methods is still slow. However, a new global study reveals that an emerging demographic may help fuel the adoption of electronic wallets and encourage more banks to expand their mobile banking and payment services.

The study, conducted jointly by ACI Worldwide and the Aite Group, examined the habits of a new demographic, which they have labeled “smartphonatics.” This is defined as an individual who changes his or her payment, financial and shopping behaviors after acquiring a smartphone. According to the study results, 80 percent of smartphonatics have used their smartphones for mobile banking, as opposed to only one-third of regular smartphone users. In addition, roughly 70 percent of smartphonatics use their device for mobile payments, compared to less than 25 percent of non-smartphonatics.

The study’s analysts say that the new behavior of this growing demographic is having a direct effect on their shopping and banking needs, which is likely to drive greater demand for expanded services.

Despite a stronger drive for new mobile banking and payment services, the study’s authors concluded that a need for traditional financial services still exists. There remains a large segment of the United States that has not yet warmed to mobile banking for several reasons, ranging from a lack of knowledge about how the services work to concerns over whether their information will be secure. In addition, a large percentage of the population continue to use regular mobile devices and have not yet purchased a smartphone.

However, consumers who use smartphones for banking purposes will now want more variety and options that give them full control and ownership of their financial transactions and how they are managed.

“Consumers expect to shop and transact anywhere, at anytime making mobile the hottest area of opportunity for financial institutions, processors and retailers today,” said Ralph Dangelmaier, ACI Worldwide global markets and services president. “These organizations need to plan strategically for mobile as part of their overall channel strategy, alongside ATMs, POS, branch and online banking. The most successful companies are leveraging their existing banking and payments systems to implement innovative mobile services. That way, they can cut down costs and time to market for new mobile ventures.”

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