We Use Phones to Bank, Not to Talk to a Bank

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's not a huge surprise that the days of consumers walking into a bank branch to buy a certificate of deposit or ask for a loan look numbered.

A report from Boston's Mercator Advisory Group shows 84% of U.S. adults prefer banking online or via mobile phone. 

Banks know this and are responding, using technologies such as mobile alerts and social media (including Twitter, Google+ and Facebook) to reach consumers.

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"Consumers want the convenience of having their digital 'branch' be available wherever they are, at any time, at home and by mobile, as more banking activities shift to mobile platforms," says Karen Augustine, manager of primary data services at Mercator.

The study says a clear majority of bank customers (53%) want to get information from their bank electronically, either by email or mobile phone text alert, while only 26% want information in person and only 3% said they wanted a phone call from their bank's customer service department.

A study from the Federal Reserve shows 93% of mobile banking customers using the technology for basic tasks such as checking account balances or reviewing recent transactions -- even more significant now that a majority of U.S. banking consumers (at 51%) say they have used mobile banking in the past year, up from 48% in 2012.

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But consumers are also using mobile banking in ways unthinkable 10 years ago: 38% of bank customers say they deposited a check via smartphone last year, up from 21% in 2012.

Slowly but surely, the rise of mobile banking will change the bank and bank customer dynamic. No longer is your banking relationships defined by checkbooks or drive-by windows.

Now it's literally in the palm of your hand.