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How do Canadians and Americans Compare with Mobile Banking?

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In the digital banking arena, it would appear that Canadians have been keener to use mobile devices than their neighbours to the south.

Research from Videology, shows that more than one-quarter of Internet users in Canada had used their mobile device for online banking, compared with 19 percent in the US, in a poll taken in December 2013.

The same research also showed that Canadians scrutinized interest rates a tad more than Americans when choosing a bank, with 28 percent listing it as the primary factor compared to 21 percent in the US. Interestingly, Americans were more swayed by advertising when choosing their financial institutions, with 21 percent indicating this was their top decision-making factor, while just 13 percent of Canadians used the same rationale.

But there are similarities. Not surprisingly, the most popular tasks in both countries when using a mobile banking app include checking account balances and statements, transferring funds and paying bills.

Mobile cheque deposit is also gaining in popularity. Bank of America recently found that of those using mobile banking apps, nearly six in 10 (58 percent) surveyed in the US, have used mobile cheque deposit, and almost four in 10 (38 percent) use it frequently. The research adds that Americans are depositing an average of 170,000 cheques via mobile device every day. Canadians have used their mobile phone to deposit more than 1,000,000 cheques since the Canadian Payments Association approved it in 2013, according to payment processing firm, NCR Corporation. Mobile deposits in Canada, notes NCR, have doubled every quarter since its introduction in April 2013.

As far as which age groups have been quickest to embrace digital banking, of course it's younger Canadians and Americans. A recent Bank of Montreal survey shows that seven-in-ten (71 percent) of those under 35 are using mobile banking in Canada. This compares to 55 percent of those between the ages of 35-44, 40 percent of those aged 45-54 and 26 percent of those aged 55-64. TD Bank reported in early July that nearly 88 percent of US millennials (18-34) are using digital banking, including banking on PCs and mobile devices.

To gain more of a global perspective, more than 1.75 billion mobile phone users will have used their device for banking purposes by the end of 2019, up from 800 million people this year, according to a Juniper Research forecast issued this month.