Consumers adopting tablet use, but experts wonder about use for mobile banking

Many studies have shown that consumers' use of mobile devices to complete financial transactions such as mobile banking and purchases is on the rise, but some experts are now beginning to question if the new proliferation of tablet PCs can be capitalized upon as well.

A new study from Javelin Strategy and Research suggests tablets are generally being adopted rather rapidly by consumers, and those who own the devices tend to be younger and more affluent, according to a report from American Banker. Tablet owners tend to be between 25 and 44, and have an average annual income of more than $100,000, with a greater amount of assets to be invested. But where many experts are surprised by the new shift toward this type of personal device is that like traditional PCs and smaller mobile devices, people are using their tablets for very specific reasons.

Currently, most tablet users tend to make use of their devices when they're relaxing, such as to play games, read eBooks and browse the Web, the report said. But because the owners of these devices tend to be tech-savvy and well-off, banks are also looking for ways to make them a one-stop mobile banking device as well. Many financial institutions are now putting out tablet apps that give consumers far more information about their accounts than they would have had on other devices, as well as more diverse financial management tools. For example, tablet owners are twice as likely to want more hands-on customer care, more detailed information about bank offerings, and the ability to learn about new products and services.

"When you look at smartphones, people are looking at data quickly and are getting in and out," Mary Monahan, executive vice president and research director at Javelin, told the news site. "PC users are power users, they use PCs heavily. So far with tablets, and this could change, people are more in 'layback' mode, which means they are making it a casual interaction. … People are initially going into the tablets with their old habits. It will deepen the relationship."

Some may be picking up new habits

The online payment processing company PayPal recently reported significantly higher revenues, and have noted the increase is due to consumers quickly adopting its new mobile payment system known as Here, according to a separate American Banker report. The system uses a plug-in card reader or mobile device's camera to process digital payments, and this could represent a shift in consumer sentiment toward using these devices for the purpose of financial transactions. PayPal's net revenue rose 32 percent to $1.3 billion in the first quarter of the year.

In the past, polls have shown that consumers' largest concerns over adopting mobile payment systems is that they will be less secure than traditional payment methods, though experts have noted that these fears are likely unfounded.

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