April 8, 2009 / 5:09 PM / 11 years ago

U.S. consumers snub mobile banking on security fears

City workers make phone calls outside the London Stock Exchange in Paternoster Square in the City of London at lunchtime October 1, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Banks and cellphone companies have a long way to go to persuade U.S. consumers to use their cellphones for banking, as many worry about security and extra fees and others are not even aware they can.

In a survey of about 500 U.S. consumers, accounting firm KPMG found that only about 9 percent had tried mobile banking. In comparison, about 76 percent “consistently use” online banking services on computers.

As many as 95 percent said they were so uncomfortable with conducting financial transactions on their phones that they’ve never used them to make a purchase on a retailer’s Web site.

About 48 percent of respondents cited security and privacy worries as their reason for not banking on their cellphones, according to KPMG.

While many respondents said they believe mobile banking is important, according to the accounting firm, they do not think it is important enough to pay extra for it.

Roughly 19 percent of respondents said they are “somewhat likely” to a use a mobile device for online banking in the next 12 months but only seven percent said are willing to pay a nominal fee for cellphone banking, according to the survey.

And even though most of the major U.S. banks offer a mobile banking service, about 68 percent of the survey respondents said their bank does not offer the service.

“The fact that the majority of U.S. consumers are not aware that their current banks offer mobile banking is clearly more perception than reality,” said Carl Carande, a principal in KPMG LLP’s Advisory and Banking and Finance practices.

Banks offering mobile services include Citigroup Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Brian Moss

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