A Juniper Research report predicts that next year there’ll be over 200 million more users of banking services on mobile telephones than in 2011: a trend which makes mobile a key strategic area for the banks.
The crisis and the economic downturn are apparently not having any negative impact. Between now and 2013, there will be 530 million users of banking services on mobile telephones around the world - 230 million more than in 2011. These figures are part of Juniper Research projections, set out in a report on the adoption of mobile services published on 17 January. These findings point to potential for strategic development which the banks shouldn’t ignore. By offering mobile services, banks can work more efficiently and can communicate more easily with their clients, which should help improve customer-retention. All this of course is due to the development of smartphones and tablets, and the fact that they are rapidly becoming part of their customers’ day-to-day habits.
Success story of the next five years
Topping the list of advantages of mobile banking mentioned by users is 24/7 access from anywhere you happen to be. Mobile devices are becoming a way of keeping a closer grip on one’s finances, which is reassuring in a time of global economical and financial crisis. According to Juniper Research, “Mobile Banking will be one of the greatest success stories of the mobile commerce industry over the next five years.” Given the technical performance of the devices, users no longer restrict themselves to the basic functions of this type of service – checking their account movements, for example – and have no qualms about carrying out real transactions.
Potential varies according to region
But it should be noted that Mobile Banking isn’t necessarily regarded as a direct substitute. In developed countries users see it as the fifth channel for banking services, complementing the actual bank branch, the call centre, ATMs and Internet banking services. In these countries, banks can primarily use their mobile services to attract specific client groups - mobile professionals, Generation Y-ers, young smartphone users, etc. However, in developing countries, where a substantial percentage of the population are not yet banked, and bricks-and-mortar branches few and far between, mobile banking might well become the main channel, with the potential to really transform the local banking sector.