The CFPB recently issued a Request for Information on the opportunities and challenges of mobile banking, particularly its effect on underbanked consumers. According to the RFI, 90 percent of U.S. consumers own a mobile phone, around 60 percent of which are smart phones. The RFI focuses on how banking services and financial management services conducted on mobile devices can improve the lives of the underserved. The bureau highlighted particular areas of interest, including: access for the underserved, real-time money management, customer service and privacy concerns and data breaches. Regarding access to the underserved, the RFI acknowledged the potential for mobile banking to decrease the underserved’s reliance on payday loan and check cashing services. The bureau will examine whether mobile banking will provide these consumers with more options that are cheaper than traditional financial services. Along with the RFI, the CFPB published tips on how consumers can protect themselves when using mobile financial services.
The CFPB’s increased focus on mobile banking follows a similar trend to that of other agencies such as the Fed and FDIC, both of which recently conducted studies on the topic. As the prevalence of mobile banking grows, and as new banking technologies develop, increased regulatory attention in the area can be expected.
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