Consumers More Willing to Pay for Mobile Banking: Study

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Over the past year, consumers have become more willing to pay for mobile banking services, according to a new report by ath Power Consulting.

"Mobile is a unique channel in so many different ways," says Michael McEvoy, managing director of the consultancy and author of the report. "There's an opportunity to charge."

According to the study, one in three consumers would be willing to pay something for mobile banking services, which is a 13%  bump up from 2012's study results. Last year, one in five consumers said they would pay for mobile services.

The online survey polled 3,201 banking and credit union customers across the United States.

To charge or not to charge for mobile banking services is a big debate among banks. Those reluctant to charge tend to think of mobile as a lower-cost channel and express concerns about consumer backlash.

Still, some banks already have mobile banking fees: U.S. Bancorp, for example, has charged customers 50 cents per mobile deposit since 2010.

"When customers see where the value is, they are more willing to pay," McEvoy says. "Especially small businesses."

Indeed, the majority of small businesses (63%) said they would pay something to use mobile banking, according to the report.

For those banks that have yet to charge, timing of a new fee matters. "If you're providing a service for an extended period of time, it's more and more difficult to charge a fee," he says. "[The introduction of] a new value-added service is a good time to introduce a fee."

The study also found that voice recognition would motivate one in three mobile customers to more frequently use mobile banking services. USAA is one of the few firms that has already debuted voice commands for its mobile app.

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