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Can You Go A Day Without Your Smartphone?
Tuesday, January 19, 2016 6:30 AM

By Brian McCue, VP Remote Transaction Resources, Credit Union Resources

Can you do away without your smartphone?

America’s obsession with smartphones continues to grow. According to a Pew’s study, 64 percent of American adults own a smartphone, which is a 35 percent increase since 2011. Many younger adults, minorities, and even lower-income Americans are smartphone dependent for their internet access. 

Talking and texting are still the leading features of smartphones, but their use in social networking, including pictures, videos, and gaming, continues to grow.

Another interesting study by Feedzai shows where smartphones are being used. We are aware of the dangers of using a smartphone while driving, but 30 percent of all mobile banking users have made transactions from the bathroom.

 The results of Apigee’s 2014 Digital Impact Survey were even more revealing:

  • 55 percent check at least one app every hour (including at the dinner table)
  • 92 percent of smartphone users say their mobile device has changed the way they connect with friends
  • 78 percent say smartphones have changed the way they bank
  • 60 percent have downloaded a diet or fitness app
  • 94 percent expect apps from their bank
  • 21 percent of users don't think they could maintain a relationship without a smartphone

My first cell phone was the size of a small projector and only worked when it was plugged into my car’s cigarette lighter receptacle. I probably had no service or was roaming the majority of the time, and I was very aware of my air minutes. They weren’t cheap. I only used the phone to make calls. I didn’t start texting until my sons had phones. Texting was the best way to communicate with them during high school and college. 

Smartphone plans have become ridiculous, but that’s not stopping us from getting the newest one on the market. Fully 46 percent of the Pew’s respondents said they could not live without their smartphone—despite that these phones and their exorbitant usage plans are causing financial burdens. Of those with household incomes below $30,000, 44 percent of smartphone owners have had their service disconnected. 

The Financial Brand wrote a post on America’s Smartphone Obsession based on a Bank of America survey. It has some intriguing insights on how smartphones play a role in consumers' daily activities. Is your smartphone the first thing you think about when you wake up or do you sleep with it by your side? Have you surveyed your members about their mobile usage and desired features? What are your credit union’s mobile statistics?

The Electronic Payments Resource is a very useful study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and SWACHA. Mobile banking and mobile products continue to change and evolve, and their usage is growing. Players like Google, Apple, and Starbucks are driving change. Are you meeting their needs with your mobile offerings?