WASHINGTON The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday launched an inquiry into banking over mobile phones, looking for comments on both the risks and the upsides of the rapidly spreading technology.
The CFPB is exploring how mobile technologies can be used to make banking easier for the tens of millions of people with no bank account and those with limited access to financial institutions.
More banks and financial institutions have integrated online and mobile banking into their service offerings, allowing more people to manage their finances remotely.
"We need to make sure all consumers are protected whether they are opening their wallets or scanning the screen on their smartphones," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement.
About 90 percent of consumers in the United States own a mobile phone, with 60 percent owning smart phones, the agency said. It said 74,000 customers per day began using mobile banking services for the first time last year.
The agency wants to find out whether increased use of mobile devices could affect the availability and location of bank branches and hurt some consumers.
It also wants to know what additional customer services and data and privacy protections there are for mobile users, especially those from low-income communities.
The CFPB will be taking comments and information on mobile financial services from the public until Sept. 9.
(Reporting by Elvina Nawaguna; Editing by Douwe Miedema and Leslie Adler)