Mobile banking continues to grow at a rapid pace. ABI Research reports that in 2008 mobile banking was used by almost ten times the amount of people who did in 2007. In 2007, 400,000 people used mobile banking; in 2008, that number grew to 3.1 million. That’s an amazing amount of growth in a one-year period, and ABI believes mobile banking could be one of the prime features of mobile computing. “Mobile financial services have the potential to be bigger than mobile TV and premium mobile content in terms of numbers of subscribers,” said ABI analyst Mark Beccue. ABI calls mobile financing “the next big thing,” predicting there will be almost a half-billion mobile financial customers in 2013. In addition to mobile banking, the research company includes mobile person-to-person payments in this category.

“Every bank in the world is considering these options,” he says. “It’s a huge growth area. It allows banks to increase customer ‘stickiness,’ to cut costs and automate, and most importantly, to reach the unbanked. They are scrambling for ways to do it.”

ABI believes that mobile banking is recession-proof, as it is not about spending money, but managing it.

On the spending side, ABI predicts that mobile commerce, which is currently growing slower than expected, will reach more than $18 billion by 2013.

EMarketer notes that there is significant difference in various published studies reporting the amount of mobile users who use mobile banking. While a Fiserv survey found that almost 25 percent of mobile users used mobile banking, a similar poll by Juniper concluded that only three percent did.

By Mark Alvarez