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U.S. Mobile Banking Has Yet To Take Off

Only 10% of U.S. consumers use a cell phone to perform a banking transaction, but as Nokia and others push it, the field is expected to grow.
The awareness and usage of U.S. mobile banking services are just beginning to build among consumers, according to a survey from Morpace Omnibus Study.

The national survey found that only one in 10 adults was using cell phones to perform a banking transaction or look up financial information during a typical week. Additionally, the survey found that two-thirds of the consumers were unsure or unaware if their banks had mobile capabilities.

"As might be expected, younger people -- particularly those in the 18-34 segment -- have the highest awareness, current use, and interest levels of any of the subgroups we examined," said Tim Taylor, head of the Morpace financial services practice, in a statement. "As awareness and interest in mobile banking spreads to other age groups, and given the speed of technical adoption, we expect to see a steep increase in these measures."

Although companies like AT&T and Verizon Wireless have offered mobile banking options for a while, it has yet to take off in the United States as it has in places like Korea and Japan. While U.S. interest in mobile banking is currently low, the market is expected to grow rapidly as more Americans purchase sophisticated handsets.

Companies like Visa and MasterCard and cell phone manufacturers will play a key role in widespread adoption. Both credit card giants have piloted mobile banking programs that enable users to keep track of accounts via SMS or the mobile Web.

Visa and Nokia have also teamed up to deliver a mobile handset that utilizes near-field communications chipsets for contactless payment. With the Nokia 6212 classic, users will be able to wave their phone in front of special point-of-sale readers to pay for merchandise.

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