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U.S. Mobile Financial Services Market Demand

comScore released the latest insights on the state of the mobile financial services market. The report found that in Q4 2010, 29.8 million Americans accessed financial services accounts (bank, credit card, or brokerage) via their mobile device, an increase of 54 percent from Q4 2009.

The comScore market study analyzed the reasons inhibiting consumers from accessing financial accounts via mobile devices, finding that preference for online access and security concerns topped the list for both smartphone and feature phone users.

"More people are turning to the convenience of mobile devices for their financial service needs, fueled in part by the adoption of smartphones, 3G devices and unlimited data plans," said Sarah Lenart, comScore vice president.

In Q4 2010, 29.8 million Americans accessed financial service accounts via their mobile device -- up 54 percent from the previous year. And, 18.6 million users accessed their financial accounts via mobile browser in Q4 2010 -- up 58 percent from the previous year, 10.8 million accessed their accounts via applications, up 120 percent.

SMS (text message) represented the smallest access point for financial service audiences with 8.1 million users, up 35 percent.

Among mobile banking and credit card users, nearly half prefer going online via a fixed device as the primary way to access their accounts, with 47 percent of mobile banking customers and 44 percent of mobile credit card users doing so.

Mobile has become an increasingly important access channel with 36 percent of mobile credit card users and 26 percent of mobile banking customers indicating it is their primary method of accessing their accounts.

Only a small segment of these users listed speaking with a representative in person or on the phone as their primary access method.

comScore also analyzed the reasons consumers cite for not utilizing their mobile devices for financial activities. The results indicated that preference for using a fixed online device topped the list for both smartphone and non-smartphone users at 53 percent and 45 percent, respectively.

Security concerns were also rated highly as a concern among both smartphone users (33 percent) and non-smartphone users (30 percent). Perhaps not surprisingly, 29 percent of non-smartphone users stated cost as a reason for not accessing these accounts, while only 10 percent of smartphone users said the same thing (as unlimited data plans void this concern for many smartphone users).

About 26 percent of smartphone users also indicated that slow connection speeds hindered their mobile financial service usage. Demonstrating the overall strong awareness of these services, only 6 percent of smartphone users and 5 percent of non-smartphone users stated not knowing about these services as a reason why they did not access these accounts.

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