Fifty-one percent of U.S. adults, meaning 61% of internet users, bank online, says a study conducted by research firm Pew Research Center and Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The same study shows the fact that 32% of U.S. adults, or 35% of cell phone owners, bank using their mobile phones.
These findings are based on nationally representative surveys by the PewResearchCenter designed to track an activity that is often held up as a proxy for consumer trust in online transactions and as an example of how one industry has enabled data to flow among different institutions.
Both types of digital banking are on the rise. In 2010, 46% of U.S. adults, or 58% of internet users, said they bank online. In 2011, 18% of cell phone owners said they have used their phone to check their balance or transact business with a bank.
The analysts noted the fact that 85% of U.S. adults say they use the internet, but someone’s likelihood to have access declines with age. Because of the gaps in access among age groups, differences among those who bank online are more pronounced. For example, since only 56% of U.S. adults age 65 and older have access to the internet, the percentage of that age group who bank online is just 26%.
Ninety-one percent of U.S. adults say they own a cell phone. Of those, 35% transact business with a bank using a cell phone.
Young adults (ages 18-29) and whites report the most significant increases for online banking. In 2010, 55% of 18-29 year-olds said they banked online; in 2013, 66% of that group did so. In 2010, 47% of whites said they banked online; in 2013, 54% of that group did so.
Younger adults are also leading the mobile banking trend. However, in contrast with online banking trends, non-white cell phone owners are more likely than whites to engage in mobile banking.
These findings dovetail with surveys conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for the American Bankers Association (ABA). In 2012, 39% of U.S. adults said they prefer to bank online (up from 36% in 2010) and 6% said they prefer to bank on a mobile device (up from 3% in 2010). Adults between the ages of 18-34 years old are driving the growth in both online and mobile banking, according to the ABA.
The results of the mobile banking questions are based on data from telephone interviews (between July 25 and 28, 2013) with a nationally representative sample of 1,003 adults living in the continental United States. The results of the online banking questions are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from April 17 to May 19, 2013, among a sample of 2,252 adults, age 18 and older.