TORONTO — Canadians are increasingly turning to their smartphones or computers rather than a physical branch to do their banking, with the proportion who use their mobile devices nearly doubling in two years, according to new research.

The proportion of Canadians who bank primarily on a mobile device has risen to 17 per cent from nine per cent two years ago, according to a survey commissioned by the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) and conducted by Abacus Data.

Nearly three-quarters of Canadians surveyed primarily do their banking online or on their mobile device, up from 52 per cent in 2012, the survey, released Tuesday, showed.

“Canadians of all age groups are not only increasingly using online and mobile banking and payments, they are telling us they anticipate doing more and more in the coming years,” Terry Campbell, CBA president, said in a statement.

This comes as Canadian banks invest heavily to transform their organizations and processes for the digital age, as customers frequent their physical branches less.

Last week, the Bank of Nova Scotia said in a presentation as part of its digital banking update that it is aiming to cut in-branch financial transactions to less than 10 per cent in the medium term.

“Our customers want to do more of their banking through digital channels,”  Scotiabank president and CEO Brian Porter said in a statement on Feb. 2.

Some 44 per cent of Canadians said they used mobile banking last year, up from 31 per cent two years ago, the CBA survey showed.

Roughly 52 per cent said they were likely to do more banking on their handheld devices over the next two to three years, the survey said.

The number of people using their phones to deposit cheques has multiplied as well — nine per cent said taking photos of the cheque and uploading it via mobile app was their main deposit method, up from one per cent in 2014.

Abacus conducted the survey of 1,262 people by telephone interviews and online in October.

Financial Post