Sue Ogrocki, Associated Press
Stopping by your bank to make a quick deposit, chat with the teller and grab a lollipop for your kids may be fading into the past, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.
The report found that 51 percent of American adults and 61 percent of Internet users use online banking. It also discovered that 32 percent of adults have turned to their mobile devices for their banking needs.
The number of Internet banking users is a jump of 5 percent since the same survey was conducted by Pew in 2010. But the more remarkable leap occurred in mobile banking over the same time period. In 2011, only 18 percent of adults used mobile banking.
The Pew study broke down the demographics of its respondents. Of those ages 18 to 29, 67 percent used online banking, while only 47 percent of the 65 and older crowd did. Those who had a high school education or less and those who made less than $30,000 a year were around 20 percentage points less likely to use online banking than their more educated, wealthier peers.
Similar demographic results were found among those who used mobile banking, with one exception. Unlike Internet banking, which whites were the most likely to use, nonwhites were more likely to use mobile banking than whites. Also, the difference between young and old users increased dramatically, with 54 percent of those 18 to 29 saying they used mobile banking, while a meager 14 percent of respondents 65 and older said they turned to their phone to bank.
The Pew study's results are closely aligned with results of a study conducted last year by the American Banker Association. That study also found that mobile banking was on the rise.
“These results show customers are embracing new technologies that make managing a bank account simpler, easier and more convenient, but that doesn’t mean that the traditional bank branch is going anywhere,” said Nessa Feddis, ABA senior counsel and retail banking expert. "Branch design may evolve as a result of declining foot traffic. However, we know that nothing replaces human interaction, and that’s why branches will never disappear."
Paul Sawers at The Next Web wrote an article last year about the growth of online banking. He concluded that mobile banking was the way the future of banking was headed, but perhaps not so much as to replace traditional banking methods.
"So, what’s the future of online banking? Think ‘mobile’, and you won’t be too far off the mark," he wrote. "Will online banking kill off the High Street bank? Maybe, but not for a long time yet."