ATLANTA-A new study from SYNERGISTICS Research finds that four in ten Internet households already have some form of tablet device, and one-third of those report that they use those machines for online banking.

The study, titled "Optimizing Mobile Banking and Payment Strategies," found that mobile and online banking activity is most widespread among consumers ages 18 to 34-a demographic many credit unions and banks are trying to attract.

SYNERGISTICS surveyed 1,004 consumers age 18 and older while gathering the study's data. The study found that only 33% of consumers age 50 and above use tablet devices for online banking services.

SYNERGISTICS CEO William H. McCracken said that tablets have already entered their next level as far as usage capabilities, but many FIs still think of them as a "trendy" development and as such have gotten behind the curve.

"A significant portion of consumers now own tablets and e-readers, and it is clear that users of these devices are widely embracing them for performing online financial activities," said McCracken.

He suggested that although tablets and other mobile devices will not displace computer-based online activities for some time, being ready to adapt to a tablet environment will be key because tablets offer more on-screen real estate than smartphones, and wide scale adoption is set to rise for the foreseeable future.

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