Editor's update: ABI Research contacted us. They have adjusted their predictions. "The 2015 forecast figure should be about 407 million, not 244 million." The number of mobile banking consumers is doubling every year, and ABI predicts that 244 407 million people worldwide -- sixty-six million of them in North America -- will be mobile banking customers in 2015. “The global number of subscribers more than doubled between 2008 and 2009, and is expected to almost double again in 2010. This growth can be seen everywhere, but Asia – led by India – is pushing it particularly hard,” said ABI senior analyst Mark Beccue. The obstacle to the adoption of mobile banking in North America and Europe is that most banks only offer the service to existing customers. As well, most North American and European consumers have access to computers and are in close proximity to physical branches, so mobile banking is not the necessity it is in other regions.

“North America and Europe are still a long way from what anyone would call a ‘mass market’ uptake of mobile banking, but those regions offer the best long-term conditions for that to occur,” Beccue said.

Banks in the U.S. are starting to move to a more mobile-friendly model. Earlier this month, Wells Fargo became the first U.S. bank to offer m-banking without requiring customers to sign up online first.

Despite the aforementioned obstacles, a healthy number of Americans are using mobile banking.

According to the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and Luth Research, 17 percent of American adults currently use mobile banking.

Eleven percent of consumers use a mobile web browser, 8 percent use SMS and 5.5 percent use applications.

Based on their survey results, the MMA predicts that mobile banking in the U.S. will grow to 22 percent in the next year.

“The task at hand for marketers in mobile banking is to migrate consumers from engaging in primarily informational services such as checking account balances to using transaction oriented services,” said Jacqueline Rosales, Executive Vice President of business development and client service, Luth Research.

By Mark Alvarez