News & Views - Savantor

Mobile Banking – Twist or Stick?

Friday, 30 April 2010

It’s been the next big thing (or one of them) for some time now and recent reports are not making the picture any clearer. One such report from Ovum says we are on the cusp of a mobile payments boom, a “golden opportunity” financial institutions cannot afford to pass up.  So banks should forget contactless cards and put all their efforts into mobiles.  All well and good but as a consumer it depends on what type of mobile you have as to whether you are interested or not.  European BlackBerry and iPhone users are nearly three times more likely to use mobile banking services than the owners of other handsets, according to research from Forrester.  The survey of 14000 people in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK shows that mobile banking is still relatively little-used, with application-based systems particularly unpopular.  SMS-based systems continue to dominate, with 10% of European online mobile phone users signing up for one-way text message alerts from their banks.

Mobile banking is still mainly used by Europeans to check account balances and recent transactions, with far fewer using it to transfer money, and pay bills.  Of those that do not use mobile banking, 40% say they see no value in it and a quarter think they can wait to access their accounts through the phone, Web or ATMs. Over a fifth don't believe it is safe, 16% do not know if their bank offers the service and 11% say they do not have the right technology on their mobile phone.

Despite the relatively low take-up numbers banks are still being encouraged to update their strategies in preparation of an apparent surge in popularity as Europe sees increased smart phone adoption.  Maybe Europe knows something Australia doesn’t as ANZ is axing its M-Banking service next month in response to poor take up.  The bank sent customers a letter last week warning that the service would be discontinued from 14 May, although its text banking and iPhone-specific offerings will remain in place.

It still seems as if consumers aren’t exactly beating down the doors to get this technology and if they do decide they want it they’ll probably have to buy a Blackberry or iPhone to use it so someone has a good marketing job to do before this really starts to take off.

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