Adoption of Mobile Banking Apps Explodes in This Demographic

U.S. Hispanics’ current spending power is estimated to be roughly $1.4 trillion, so it’s no surprise that they represent a significant market opportunity for businesses, credit unions included.  These numbers prompted Nielsen, a market research company, to conduct a study in the beginning half of 2015 to uncover what marketing products, services, and themes resonate the most among the U.S.’s Latino population.  What they found is significant for credit unions: Mobile Banking apps and mobile payment services have exploded among this segment of our population.

In fact, Nielsen analyzed the top 10 Spanish-language ads among Hispanics in the U.S. from earlier this year and found that 3 of the top 10 ads featured mobile banking and payments.  According to the findings, “U.S. Hispanic mobile subscribers are highly engaged in mobile banking and shopping activities. 41% of U.S. Hispanics are mobile bankers, vs. 36% non-Hispanic. Hispanics are also heavy users of digital platforms and quick adopters of new technology. And as a result, they’re more likely to shop using their mobile devices (36% vs. 32% non-Hispanics).”

Now compare that to a report in the Latin Post, citing The Checking Experience Index produced by the banking institution TD Bank. According to this report released on Oct. 12, 2015, the numbers could be even more impressive than what was estimated earlier this year. This report found that 93% of Hispanic respondents favored online banking and 81% preferred the use of their bank’s mobile options when handling day-to-day transactions. Could these overwhelmingly large figures possibly be accurate of the U.S. Latino population’s use of mobile banking?

On some further research, it appears the TD Bank study is a much smaller subset of respondents than the much larger, nationwide Nielsen report. The Checking Experience Index surveyed 1,500 total respondents with only 150 identifying themselves as Hispanic. So the extraordinarily high numbers reported yesterday by the Latin Post are deceivingly high due to the relatively small sample size, but there is no doubt the Latino market is growing fast for mobile and internet banking products.

This is not exactly breaking news… Back in a 2012 reportThe Federal Reserve indicated that 60% of Hispanic mobile phone owners have smartphones, illustrating the importance of mobile banking options. That same report also found that Hispanics were the most interested in adopting mobile banking programs than any other banking product, and more than any other cultural market segment. It was speculated then, over 3 years ago, that this population would represent a huge market opportunity. That time has no doubt come. It was predicted in 2012: “If mobile banking apps are what Hispanics are most interested in, then banks and credit unions will divert the most attention to meeting that demand.”

So while the numbers reported in the news may be overinflated, it would seem that the predictions of 2012 have come to fruition, and U.S. Hispanics continue to be a prime market for credit unions to promote mobile banking apps and mobile payments such as Google Wallet, Pop Money, PayPal and more. 

BY PRESTON PACKER

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