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Smartphone Mobile Banking Use Approaches 50%

Research report comes as Wells Fargo launches wireless payments system for BlackBerry and iPhone.

ABI research has announced that about 50% of smartphone users are planning to use their devices for mobile banking, including mobile shopping. A parallel announcement this week highlighted the ABI survey findings when Wells Fargo began rolling out its mobile banking pilot.

In its survey of 2,000 consumer technology users, ABI said nearly half of the responding smartphone users said they already or will soon use their phones for mobile shopping. A slightly higher percentage -- 53% -- use or intend to use their smartphones for mobile banking.

"We see mobile commerce in the U.S. finally starting to achieve a mass market appeal," said ABI senior analyst Mark Beccue in a statement. "It's not just smartphone owners: non-smartphone mobile users' interest in mobile banking and commerce services, while lower than that among smartphone owners, is also on the rise, with 17% of non-smartphone users surveyed using or intending to use mobile banking services."

Mobile phone carriers, credit card vendors, shopping sites, and smartphone providers are racing to get a toehold in the rapidly emerging mobile payments and shopping markets.

Wells Fargo has debuted a mobile payments pilot using selected iPhone and BlackBerry models and Visa's microSD program operating with DeviceFidelity's In2Pay technology. The approach involves BlackBerry users inserting an In2Pay microSD card into their phone's slot while iPhone users will be able to use a protective In2Pay case that includes an In2Pay microSD card.

The Wells Fargo application utilizes Visa's contactless payment app called Visa PayWave. The participants in the pilot program can load Wells Fargo Visa credit and debit card information into their mobile phones. The application, like most mobile banking and payments applications, calls for consumers to wave a phone equipped with the application in front of a contactless reader.

ABI Research's Janet Wise said the market research company's survey shows a larger picture in which smartphone owners tend to use a wide range of activities. "Smartphone users behave differently," she said. "They score higher (for) activities 'because they can' (their devices are capable), and also because they have the money, resources, and time."

For Further Reading

Bank Of America, Visa Pilot Mobile Payments

AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Launch Mobile Payment Network

PayPal Banks On Mobile Payments

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