Two out of five are banking on the go

Mobile banking

More than two out of five bank customers now use their smartphones to check balances and transfer funds, according to a new study.

Around 42% of Brits use their bank or building society's mobile app for basic bank transactions, making banking only slightly less popular than playing music, the research from Consumer Intelligence reveals.

And mobile banking is due to expand even more with the launch of the Payment Council's mobile payments scheme in April, which will allow customers to make payments direct to or from an account on their phone.

Ignoring basic phoning, emailing and texting, the study found banking was joint third with shopping on a list of the most popular uses of a smartphone after social networking (54%) and playing music (46%). In fourth and fifth places were satellite navigation (39%) and watching videos (35%).

More than one in 10 people (13%) use their smartphone to work on documents, while gambling accounts for 9% of smartphone activity.

Consumer Intelligence says banking apps are already being used to make big payments - it claims that someone used the Barclays Pingit app to recently deposit £23,000 on a house. Other banks that have signed up to mobile apps include Santander, RBS, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Cumberland Building Society, which launched its Pay2Mobile service in January.

Technological change

David Black of Consumer Intelligence said: "The popularity of banking apps highlights how a growing number of people are able to handle their financial dealings wherever they are.

"Banks and building societies are embracing the technological change, with Barclays reporting the first house purchase on a mobile, while smaller institutions such as Cumberland Building Society have launched their own versions.

"For banking to be joint third on the list shows just how much consumers trust their banks to provide a secure app through which to access their accounts."

However, a recent poll found that 77% of people would not want to use a smartphone app to pay in cheques to their bank.