How keen are you on mobile banking? If you’re anything like the people surveyed by BT Global Services then you’re not very keen at all. According to the study, most people in the USA prefer ATMs, self-service kiosks and online banking over mobile banking. This is primarily because they don’t entirely trust mobile banking. Apparently, German and British consumers share the sentiment (banktech.com).
Mobile banking is becoming more popular in certain countries. In New Zealand, for example, the number of people who use their smartphones for banking doubled in 2012 (finextra.com). According to the Mobile Phone Monitor, released by research firm Roy Morgan, 16% of smartphone users conducted banking transactions via their phones between January 2012 and January 2013. It might not sound like much, but if the rate of growth continues, it won’t be long before mobile banking is the default banking system.
Even more people in Australia use their phones for banking purposes, with current use at 20%.
Developing vs. developed markets
Consumers in developed markets may be struggling to come to terms with mobile banking, but many people in developing markets have no choice but to embrace the technology. What’s more, they use phones that can in no way be considered smart.
According to Tagattitude, an electronic transactions specialist, the simple technology (i.e., text messaging) used by basic cell phones is cheaper and more accessible than more expensive smartphone systems. The company caused quite a stir at the Mobile World Congress when it said that that NFC technology is not sustainable. It just doesn’t generate enough public interest (Craig Timberg – The Washington Post).
The reason that the simple phones work is that they are used by people in Africa, Asia and South America who are so impoverished that they don’t have bank accounts, let alone the resources to own smartphones. In these instances, mobile phones are used to transfer money between families; which is essential when sons and daughters live in big cities and send money home to support their parents, grandparents and extended families in rural areas.
Given that selling the idea of mobile banking to consumers in developed markets is quite tricky, banks have had to think outside of the box to come up with new and enticing features.
For example, US Bank recently launched US Bank of Mobile Photo BillPay, which allows smartphone to pay bills simply by taking a photo of them using their smartphone cameras. Patented Mitek Systems technology then picks up all the relevant information needed to fill in the fields on a payment app, so that all users have to do is click ‘Pay Now’.
The development is particularly important as TheFinancialBrand.com reports that 58% of iPhone users want to start taking advantage of mobile banking and that 42% of people who already use mobile banking want to do so by photographing bills.
It’s been a long road, but it seems that people are slowly starting to trust mobile banking and are starting to see the advantages that it has to offer. It remains to be seen whether things like mobile wallets will really take off, but for now banks must be satisfied that smartphone users are starting to see things their way.
About the Author:
Sandy Cosser writes for Data Detect Australia, a data recovery expert that offers mobile data recovery services, so that you can get your valuable data back.