The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation introduced by Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) that extends mobile banking access to rural Coloradans Monday evening.
The Making Online Banking Initiation Legal and Easy (MOBILE) Act of 2017 (H.R. 1457) passed with high bipartisan support on a 397-8 vote.
The MOBILE Act increases access to mobile banking services by requiring states to allow consumers to use electronic scans of their driver’s license or other personal identification to set up bank accounts on mobile devices.
For Coloradans in rural areas, this bill removes a burdensome trip to a physical bank, which might be miles away.
“In communities where access to a physical bank is limited, mobile banking has become a critical tool for Americans to save money securely, pay their bills on time, and better plan for their future financial needs,” Tipton said in a news release.
The legislation addresses banking issues faced by rural Americans in unbanked or underbanked communities. A 2016 Federal Reserve study found that 31 percent of Americans were unbanked or underbanked, but widely used mobile phones.
Boosting access to mobile financial services is likely to increase financial stability of rural Coloradans, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. A 2016 FDIC report found that consumers in underserved areas who utilized mobile financial services felt more financial stability because they had increased access and control over their finances.
“All families should have the tools they need to achieve financial success and prosperity, no matter where they choose to live,” Tipton said in the release.
To address security and privacy concerns, the legislation requires financial institutions delete the driver’s license copies after the consumer’s identity is verified.
The bill also received backing from the financial industry, which emphasized that the ability to verify consumers with electronic copy of identification helped their business stay competitive.
“This legislation is mutually beneficial to both financial institutions and their customers,” Tipton said in floor speech before final passage, citing a letter he received from a state banking association.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, fewer than 10 states have banned the practice of using electronic scans of identification to set up bank accounts remotely. If enacted, the bill will supersede state laws.
The bill will now head over to the Senate.
Andrew Eversden is an intern for The Durango Herald and a student at American University in Washington, D.C.