The number of U.S. mobile financial account users has surged 54 percent to 30 million in the past year, according to a new report.

The quarterly report, from digital business analytics provider comScore, found that in the fourth quarter of 2010, 29.8 million Americans accessed financial services accounts, including bank, credit card and brokerage accounts, from a mobile device. That was a 54 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2009.

The report also analyzed the reasons inhibiting consumers from accessing financial accounts via mobile devices, finding that preference for online access and security concerns topped the list for both smartphone and feature phone users.

“More people are turning to the convenience of mobile devices for their financial service needs, fueled in part by the adoption of smartphones, 3G devices and unlimited data plans,” said comScore vice president Sarah Lenart in a statement. “The ubiquitous nature of mobile devices affords financial brands an important channel to reach and engage customers, whether it's at home, work or on-the-go. As brands compete for customer loyalty in this competitive market, marketers will need to focus on continually improving the mobile customer experience and adjusting to the changing landscape and consumer needs as they access their financial information.”

In Q4 2010, according to comScore, 18.6 million users accessed their financial accounts via mobile browser, up 58 percent from the previous year, while 10.8 million accessed their accounts via applications, up 120 percent.  SMS (text message) represented the smallest access point for financial service audiences with 8.1 million users, up 35 percent.

The comScore report also analyzed the reasons consumers cite for not utilizing their mobile devices for financial activities. The results indicated that preference for using a fixed online device topped the list for both smartphone and non-smartphone users at 53 percent and 45 percent, respectively.

Security concerns were also rated highly as a concern among both smartphone users (33 percent) and non-smartphone users (30 percent). Perhaps not surprisingly, 29 percent of non-smartphone users stated cost as a reason for not accessing these accounts, while only 10 percent of smartphone users said the same thing (as unlimited data plans void this concern for many smartphone users). Twenty-six percent of smartphone users also indicated that slow connection speeds hindered their mobile financial service usage.

Demonstrating the overall strong awareness of these services, only 6 percent of smartphone users and 5 percent of non-smartphone users stated not knowing about these services as a reason why they did not access these accounts.

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