One-quarter of Millennials say their smartphone is their bank

What cell phone hacking?
What cell phone hacking?

Nearly one-quarter of young Americans bank primarily by smartphone, claims a new survey released by Ally Bank.

In a telephone poll taken in September, 23 percent of Americans aged 18-34 said they were “primarily using mobile devices” to do their banking, up from 15 percent last year.  Add in other electronic devices, such as ATM and personal computers, and more than 60 percent say they bank primarily through technology.

But that doesn’t mean bank branches and tellers are extinct, at least not yet. A solid one-third of Millennials prefer banking in person, the survey found. And overall, 44 percent of all U.S. adults told the surveyors that they like banking in person, at a branch.

“Our survey data indicates a shift over the last several years, as more consumers look online to manage their finances,” said Ally’s Diane Morais.

The survey was paid for by Ally, which offers online-only banking, so the results should be taken with the usual grain of salt.  But it rings true.  It seems that dramatic stories about smartphone hacking (read this one, or watch the video on this one) are having little if any impact on adoption rates for smartphone banking.

Note No. 1: The worst of those stories are from Asia, where the Android app situation is far more chaotic and risky.  I don’t know anyone — as a friend or reporter — who’s lost money via a smartphone banking app (have you? Tell me!)  So that means users are making pretty rational choices.

Note No. 2: I never felt great about depositing checks at an ATM. I now use deposit-by-phone all the time. It’s crazy convenient, and I still have the check if something goes wrong.  Mobile banking saves me a trip to the bank/ATM, and that’s worth a lot to me.

I guess if people like their smartphones better than sex, they trust they for online banking.

Are you using a smartphone as your primary banking tool? If not, why not?

(SPONSORED: And if you want to keep your accounts safer, try BillGuard, a free app that helps monitor your credit cards for fraud.)



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About Bob Sullivan 1638 Articles
BOB SULLIVAN is a veteran journalist and the author of four books, including the 2008 New York Times Best-Seller, Gotcha Capitalism, and the 2010 New York Times Best Seller, Stop Getting Ripped Off! His latest, The Plateau Effect, was published in 2013, and as a paperback, called Getting Unstuck in 2014. He has won the Society of Professional Journalists prestigious Public Service award, a Peabody award, and The Consumer Federation of America Betty Furness award, and been given Consumer Action’s Consumer Excellence Award.

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