Studies Find Gap In Consumer Awareness, Usage Of Mobile Banking

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ATLANTA-A new series of studies from First Data found a gap between consumers' awareness and usage of mobile banking; and its authors say that bridging that gap could be key to growing Gen Y member share at credit unions.

The white papers-"Meeting the Needs of the New Financial Consumer" and "Consumer Adoption and Usage of Banking Technology"-collected responses from about 2,000 consumers, broken down into six different segments based around age and lifestyle.

Sharon Brant, First Data's director of market intelligence, noted that one of the reasons the studies differentiated among six consumer segments was because of the different ways institutions serve consumers of various ages and lifestyles. Among the findings was that younger consumers tend to prefer the major banks over credit unions and community banks. "That doesn't mean a credit union couldn't meet the needs and lifestyles of Gen Y and the millennials," said Brant.

"There's a perception that credit unions do not have the latest technology platforms, and in some cases that may be true, but I think that's a pretty sweeping perception," said Larry Drury, First Data's chief marketing officer. "I believe if they want to be relevant [to young, affluent consumers], they will have to make those investments and talk about them in a way that fits into how those segments think about money and access."

Brant noted that 40% of respondents said they were aware of mobile offerings at their FI, but only 15% currently use the service-and a mere 3% said they planned to start in the next 12 months. Drury observed, however, that mobile adoption rates may rise as consumers convert to smart phones in the coming years.

"The time to move is now," he said. "Even though the adoption curves for this are low, it will be a very steep adoption curve."

First Data's study confirmed well-known statistics about older member bases at CUs and Drury observed that for many, a mobile platform is "perhaps the least relevant to their member base, but ... it's a bet on the future."

To read First Data's white paper on "Consumer Adoption and Usage of Banking Technology," visit: http://www.firstdata.com/downloads/thought-leadership/fi-segmentation-wp3.pdf

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