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Mobile banking now only trails online banking as consumers' preferred method

Mobile banking is now Americans' second most popular banking method trailing only online banking, according to newly released research by the American Banking Association.

This year's results show a marked increase in mobile banking popularity compared with the association's 2014 findings, which showed mobile in fourth place. Branch banking and ATMs rounded out the top four spots.

However, when considering the latest results, it is important to note that the new survey was conducted online, while previous years' surveys were conducted over the phone. This makes a reliable comparison impossible, according to an ABA press release.

Still, trend indicators from other sources have also shown gains by internet and mobile banking.

Nessa Feddis, ABA senior vice president and deputy chief counsel for consumer protection and payments, expects the popularity of mobile banking to grow as accountholders become more comfortable with the technology. 

"More people are walking around today with their mobile device in hand, and banks have made it easier than ever for them to access their accounts anytime and anywhere," Feddis said in the release. "It's no surprise that millennials and other digital natives are embracing the convenience of technology to conduct quick transactions. Mobile banking is also a helpful real-time option for those who have a smartphone but not a computer."

The annual survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted on behalf of ABA by Ipsos Public Affairs, an independent market research firm, August 8-10, 2016.

This year's survey was conducted online rather than by telephone, meaning that the results may not be accurately compared to previous years' findings.