The United Kingdom has seen a dramatic surge in mobile banking interest. According to a report by research firm TNS international, mobile banking is fast becoming the preferred channel for paying bills, checking account balances, transferring money and making online payments.
According to the report, mobile banking uptake in Britain has doubled in the past year with more than 1 out of every 10 Britons now making payments through their mobile handset. The report indicates that 1 out of every 5 consumers in the UK (20%) use their mobile phones for basic banking functions such as account balance queries - an increase of more than 100% in the last one year. In addition, almost 12% of consumers in the UK now use their handsets for making payments online, an increase of 6% over the last year.
Smartphone Applications Surge
Upsurge in smartphone technology (read banking apps) and wide access of the same to consumers, coupled with ease of use and convenience has seen more and more people take to mobile banking. Smartphone banking applications enable bank customers to perform a host of things such as account transfers, payment processing, balance viewing, transaction tracking, text alerts and updates, budget management, remote deposits and withdrawals, etc.
Indeed, mobile phones are increasingly viewed as the new ‘virtual debit and credit cards’ in Britain and across the world. Mobile banking uptake has been on the rise, from North and South America to Europe, Asia and Africa. In the US, for example, mobile banking adoption has risen from over 11% to 22%, and in Sweden, uptake has risen from 8% to 20%.
Further afield, developing countries such as China, Brazil and Kenya have seen mobile banking adoption increase by more than 100% over the past 12 months. Mobile technology is expected to replace the online platform for most everyday functions such as payments and purchases. This is more so as smartphone technology improves and uptake increases, and as we move into cloud computing, which puts emphasis more on mobile networks and access points than storage space.
Industry analysts advise that banks and other financial services providers should take note of the ‘mobile wallet’ revolution and align their products and services to the emerging mobile platform so that their customers can have access to their accounts while on the go. The mobile phone is touted as the coming dominant platform for a host of things that we do on a daily basis, financial and otherwise.
Key Stats - UK Mobile Banking Industry (source: ‘Future Foundation’ report from Monitise)
- In the next 3 years, most UK consumers will pay their bills and manage their bank accounts via their handset.
- In the next few years, more than 50% of Britons will be ‘mobile banking’ as retailers and banks exploit the widespread adoption of smartphones, 3G networks and apps for service delivery - compared with 1 in 20 two years back.
- More Brits are taking to the mobile as a banking gadget: 57% used their cell phone for banking last year compared to the previous year.
- Some 68% of Britons find banking on their handsets easier and more convenient compared to online banking.
- Mobile banking will spur mobile commerce: 70% of mobile bankers will happily use their phone for other commercial purposes.
- At least three quarters of 18 – 26 year olds prefer mobile banking and wouldn’t mind paying a small fee of around £5 for the pleasure.
- At least two thirds of mobile bankers would recommend mobile banking services to others.
- 85% of mobile bankers say that technology - both mobile and online banking - helps them manage their finances more efficiently.