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The Green Sheet Online Edition

November 09, 2015 • Issue 15:11:01

Mobile deposit continues to grow, despite naysayers

By Patti Murphy
ProScribes Inc.

Editor's Note: This article was first published by RemoteDepositCapture.com, www.remotedepositcapture.com, on Oct. 7, 2015. Copyright RemoteDepositCapture.com. Reprinted with permission.

A new report published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston shows mobile deposit has significant mindshare at smaller U.S. banks and credit unions. In fact, only about one in 10 financial institutions with assets between $100 million and $500 million have no plans to offer mobile deposit, according to Mobile Banking and Mobile Payment Practices of U.S. Financial Institutions: Results from 2014 Survey of FIs in Five Federal Reserve Districts.

The Fed report reveals that as of the third quarter of 2014, 48 percent of FIs with assets between $100 million and $500 million were offering mobile deposit, and 41 percent had plans to be offering mobile deposit by Q3 of 2016. And it shows that small credit unions are further along the mRDC adoption curve than are small banks. Among credit unions surveyed 60 percent currently offer mobile deposit compared to just 34 percent of banks.

Mobile Banking and Mobile Payment Practices of U.S. Financial Institutions: Results from 2014 Survey of FIs in Five Federal Reserve Districts analyzes results of a survey of banks and credit unions in the Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Minneapolis and Richmond Federal Reserve Bank districts. These five districts stretch across a total of 25 states and the District of Columbia.

The survey, which builds on a project begun in 2008 by the FRB Boston and NEACH, a regional payments association headquartered in Boston, is noteworthy because it focused on an asset group that often gets overlooked in assessments of technology in banking: $100 million to $500 million.

The report seems to support findings from other recent surveys and studies, including a finding by the American Bankers Association that one in seven Americans now use mobile deposit, and a projection by Celent LLC that by the end of this year, one third of retail bank deposits will be coming in as mobile deposits. By year-end 2016 Celent projects half of retail bank deposits will be mobile deposits.

So it was surprising to see this headline – Mobile Deposit Usage Rises but Frequency Wanes – on a recent web post about the ABA study. The headline is a bit misleading in part because it ignores facts such as the increasing number of financial institutions offering and customers using mRDC, and the slowdown in overall check writing.

"People are receiving checks less frequently, but when they do, they're increasingly turning to mobile banking to deposit them," explained Nessa Feddis, ABA's Senior Vice President and Deputy Chief Counsel for Consumer Protection and Payments.

Over half of mRDC customers use it more than once a month

As reported here [www.remotedepositcapture.com/news/Mobile-Banking-Deposit-Post-Continued-Gains.aspx] in August, using a mobile device is the fourth most popular method of accessing banking services, according to a survey of U.S. consumers conducted on behalf of the American Bankers Association. Drilling down further into the survey research, the results reveal that one in seven Americans had used a mobile device to deposit a check in the past year, up from one in eight last year. Here's a breakdown:

  • 27 percent of adult Americans made deposits once a month.
  • 12 percent did so twice a month.
  • 15 percent reported three or more mobile deposits monthly.
  • 45 percent made mobile deposits less than once a month.

The ABA hires the independent research firm Ipsos Public Affairs each year to survey consumers about their banking practices. This was the second year questions about mobile deposit were included in the survey, which was conducted in early July. Last year, more consumers reported making one and two mobile deposits a month (46 percent and 23 percent, respectively) and fewer consumers (19 percent) made mobile deposits less frequently than once a month.

But this should not suggest that mRDC was just a flash in the pan. "Banks are seeing a lot of new user growth," said Bob Meara, Senior Analyst at Celent. In addition, more banks are rolling out mRDC for business clients, and "that would skew information" used to track mobile deposit trends. Like Feddis, Meara sees a steady decline in check writing reflected in mobile deposit usage.

Meanwhile, young adults – the so-called millennials, considered by many the future of banking – are demanding and will continue to demand mobile solutions like mobile deposit. Results of a survey of millennials released today by Mitek Systems Inc. reveal that 54 percent use mobile deposit, up from 34 percent in 2014. "Millennials love the convenience of taking a picture for data capture and they want to be doing more of it. In fact, 68 percent said that they would rather always use mobile capture instead of manually typing information into their smartphones," said Mitek President and CEO James DeBello.

DeBello also welcomed the ABA's survey data. He said the group's survey "validates the continued growth in adoption and usage of mobile check deposit solutions as consumer banking customers become more accustomed to using their mobile devices in a more self-service manner." It's not just consumers being drawn to mobile deposit, either. "We believe the market opportunity for commercial mobile check deposit is even larger," DeBello said.

Mitek lays claim to being a leader in mobile deposit with a customer base of over 4,100 financial institutions and more than 50 million end users on its mobile deposit solution. end of article

Patti Murphy is Senior Editor of The Green Sheet and President of ProScribes Inc. She is also the founder of InsideMicrofinance.com. Email her at patti@greensheet.com.

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