How much do Main Street Americans love their mobile phones? A lot, it seems.

A new study from Bain & Company on consumer banking trends makes an illustrative point on the topic of people, their cell phones and their own financial lives. According to the study, 50% of Americans surveyed say they would rather lose their wallet than their mobile phone. That number rises to 79% in China and South Korea, Bain adds.

That attachment to mobile phones is certainly impacting how consumers bank, and how they view their banking experiences. For example, Bain reports that a routine interaction on a mobile app "is 32% more likely to delight customers than a routine interaction in the branch. Moreover, frequent mobile users said they are 40% less likely to switch banks than customers who rarely use banks' mobile apps."

To delve into this trend more deeply, several industry experts provided TheStreet with a look ahead at what's popping up this year in mobile banking.

1. Mobile is merging with P2P and social media to amplify the banking experience: Peer-to-peer payments are probably the most important theme for mobile banking in 2016, says Joe Colangelo, executive director at Consumer's Research in Washington, D.C. "Popular apps like Venmo are pushing banks to make person-to-person payments easy, quick, and fun," he said. "While banking has generally been a private matter, Snapchat, Facebook and Venmo are making it social. Younger consumers especially are now interested in promoting their most recent purchase or payment to a friend for an 'epic party' or 'pizza night.'" 

2. Mobile apps changing the face of ATM's: "I actively use mobile banking and have followed its progress through the years," said Vincent Ramos, chief executive officer at 3spanapp, a video chat technology services provider that's just starting up. "In terms of technology, there are several places banking can go. For example, you can set up a bank withdrawal amount and when you go to an ATM, you don't have to waste any time. Just input your pin number and choose a 'set withdrawal' option." Also, when banks were closed, a lot of times people were left having to take their credit cards or debit cards out and swipe or dip in order to enter the brick-and-mortar locations, Ramos notes. "That's not the case anymore more," he said. "With Near Field technology, customers should expect to take their phone out and buzz, in they go to withdraw the amount they had already set-up."

3. An abundance of options: Erdal Yazmaci, general manager of Cardtek, a leading software developer for traditional and digital payment solutions, said consumers can expect a plethora of new features and benefits from mobile banking starting in 2016. "Consumers can expect receiving and using coupons via mobile, point-of-sale purchases, online bill pay, online or in-app purchases, parking, taxi or public transit app and also paying another person in and outside the U.S.," Yazmaci says. "They'll also have the ability to see transaction details."


4. Big data to aid purchase and receipt management: Tobias Walter, co-founder and chief financial officer at Shoeboxed, a receipt and financial data management firm based in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., says the future of mobile banking is going to rely on being able to give valuable data to customers based on their purchases. "The way to maximize that will be by leveraging receipts and extracting line-item purchases," Walter says. "Knowing precisely what was purchased and being able to locate exactly where a receipt is, will give mobile bankers peace of mind when it comes to financial management, That's especially beneficial in instances where proof of purchase is needed such as warranties, fraud protection, merchandise returns or exchanges, expense reimbursements or tax deductions."

5. Mobile-based withdraws gaining steam: Rajesh Sharma, vice president of mobile banking and payments applications at Inside Secure, a global business software firm, says e-deposit is already a popular mobile application feature that enables consumers to deposit checks from the comfort of their own home, instead of making a special visit for this purpose. "I recently saw the commercial from Chase where a customer would be able to withdraw money from the ATM without his debit card, instead using their mobile phone," Sharma says. "Along the same lines, newer mobile banking apps may integrate payment function as well, and integrate credit & debit cards within the same app to offer more integrated & value-added services."

With burgeoning demand among bank consumers for mobile services (especially among younger financial consumers), mobile banking is really just now hitting its stride. With momentum increasing, bank consumers can count on - and are already getting - mobile services that will change the face of banking, whether the industry is ready for it or not.

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