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Almost 20 million people now banking on their mobile

New data shows more people setting up savings accounts and managing their mortgage online

Almost 20 million people did their banking business on their mobile phone in 2016, up 11% the previous year, according to a new report from the banking trade body.

The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) found that people logged into their mobile banking app a staggering 4.9bn times, and there were 932m transactions made by app.

The report says that 86% of people are now going online via an app to access a broader range of services, as the shift to online from branch banking gathers pace.

Savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages/investment accounts are all being used more via apps, rising by 30%, 46% and 86% from 2015 to 2016.

The graph shows how people are banking on the move rather than in a branch.

In total, 19.6 million people regularly used banking apps in 2016, up from 17.6 million in 2015, with 30 customer transactions occurring every second. In contrast, checking your bank account through a web browser fell 11%.

Calling up your bank via the telephone fell 17% and is expected to fall by another 30% by 2022 to just 4m interactions a year, dwarfed by the 3.1bn app interactions a year taking place.

Why are people using apps to bank?

Put simply, the quality of banking apps in the UK has improved over the last few years and all major banks support balance checking, person to person payments and branch locations.

Also, the emergence of branchless challenger banks such as Monzo and Starling Bank has made the market for mobile banking much more competitive.

According to the BBA, customers are using web chat and video chat more frequently, up 24% and 92% as people work their finances around a busier lifestyle.

Use of contactless cards has also soared over the past year. Two thirds of all credit and debit cards use contactless technology, and spending using them rose by 225% in 2016.

It’s believed that the increase in banking app activity will continue until 2022.

Find out more in our guide to new ways to pay for things.

Is mobile banking safe?

According to fraud body Financial Fraud Action UK, losses from online banking actually fell in 2016 – from £133m to £101m.

It says that this type of fraud ‘occurs when the fraudster gains access to and transfers funds from an individual’s online bank account. In some cases, an individual may be duped by a criminal into making a fraudulent money transfer themselves.’

The same could be said for mobile banking – although taking steps to prevent your mobile from being accessed, such as setting up passcodes and fingerprint ID, can help keep your device, and consequently, your mobile banking app, secure.

On the other hand, Which? reported in May that contactless card fraud had soared by almost 150% in the past year, due to the rapid increase in their use.

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