Questions About Mobile Banking Numbers Provided by Third Parties

  • Philip Ryan
  • April 1, 2013
  • 3

mobile_up_qmSerious questions have surfaced about the data on mobile banking provided by some third-party information providers.

One of those providers is comScore. The company provided data on mobile banking to the Netbanker blog last week, which published the statistics. However, two of the major banks highlighted by the data — Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase — have distanced themselves from the data. The banks told Bank Innovation that they would not validate the comScore/Netbanker data. 

Netbanker produces the Finovate events. The next Finovate will be in San Francisco in May.

Bank of America responded in our post last week. JPMorgan Chase  spokesperson Jessica Sheehan told Bank Innovation, “We cannot confirm the accuracy of those numbers.”

JPMorgan Chase also provided shared mobile numbers that are provided to shareholders. The bank claims 12 million online households and 8 million mobile households. Mobile households are growing 35%  year over year, according to the bank.

It’s worth noting that these numbers are different than those from the bank’s January 2013 earnings call, relating to Q4 2012. In that call, CFO Marianne Lake said, “We have over 31 million active online and 12 million active mobile customers.” The difference here does not necessarily point to a conflict, as these numbers are measuring users, while those above measure households.

Neither Bank of America nor JPMorgan Chase was willing to say that the comScore data was on the mark.

We reached out to comScore for more information on how they tabulate “mobile-only” touches, which can also be seen as a question of how online touches are correlated with mobile.

The apparent deficiencies in the mobile banking data raise some questions about performance in the channel. While nearly every banker in the nation will tout the double-digit growth rates in his bank’s mobile channel, overall industrywide actual performance may deviate from the presumptions based on published data.

Will the real mobile banking data please stand up?


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Philip Ryan is Senior Editor of Bank Innovation and Senior Director of INV Fintech. He began covering financial services in 2012 and has more than 15 years' experience in online journalism. He can be reached at

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3 thoughts on “Questions About Mobile Banking Numbers Provided by Third Parties

  1. Because BofA and Chase won’t confirm the data doesn’t necessarily mean it is “deficient.”

    What incentive do big banks have by revealing their numbers? Why confirm or deny any adoption rates for any product/service? Banks are often cagey with their results, and rightfully so. Do they really need to give their competitors what is essentially free market research? (“Do more of this, less of that.”)

    fwiw, all the mobile data I’ve seen reported directly by financial institutions has always felt exceedingly rosy — e.g., “We rolled out mobile banking last week and have already seen adoption rates above 15%.” Yeah, right… In a week??? If only marketing teams were really that capable of getting the word out so quickly.

    And then how do you count someone who downloaded the app and only used it once? In my book, that doesn’t count as a “mobile user,” but you can be darn sure that many financial marketers do.

    • To be sure, there is a lot of data out there that is suspect, and banks themselves want to paint the brightest picture when they can. But this mobile-only figure seems particularly suspect, especially since it is so out of whack for two banks. Do we really think banks are telling outright lies about their mobile numbers? That would be interesting, especially in an era where there is so much external data, suspect or not.

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