The number of mobile phone subscribers that use their phones for mobile banking transactions will exceed 150m globally by 2011, according to a new study by Juniper Research. These figures refer to additive banking which is focused on developed markets rather than transformational banking.
Additive banking adds further choices or distribution channels for banks to serve their customers or make the banking experience more convenient for existing customers.
Transformational banking is about extending banking services to customers who cannot be reached profitably with traditional branch-based financial services: typically these services exploit the ubiquity of the mobile phone and are more focused on developing countries.
The Juniper Research report determined that the mobile banking market is currently most advanced in the Far East, but that growing numbers of mobile banking services are being offered in North America and Western Europe. The developed nations of the Far East, North America and Western Europe are forecast to account for over 70% of the user base by 2011.
Mobile Banking report author Howard Wilcox gave more details: "Transactional or "push" mobile banking is being offered increasingly by banks via downloadable applications or the mobile web, complementing existing SMS messaging services for balance and simple information enquiries. Mobile banking is a key element in banks' distribution channel strategies as they compete to attract and retain customers."
The Juniper report highlighted the extra user convenience as a key benefit. The mobile phone is the device that people - especially Generation Y - will not leave home without. Mobile banking is an addition to the wide choice of applications and services that they can access through their handsets to make life easier, especially via smart phones such as the iPhone.
However the report identified several factors that will need addressing to really foster market development including financial regulations which vary from country to country, application slickness, and security. Whatever the reality of the strength of the security, it is the perception and image in the mind of the user that dictates whether they will trust the service.