We may not have much money in our bank accounts these days, but what we do have will be increasingly managed via our mobile phones, according to a new report from Juniper Research.
The analyst firm's Mobile Banking: Strategies, Applications and Markets 2008-2013 study predicts that there will be more than 150 million mobile banking users worldwide by 2011.
The market is currently most advanced in the Far East, but growing numbers of mobile banking services are being offered in North America and Western Europe. The three regions combined will account for over 70 per cent of the user base by 2011.
One of the driving factors is convenience, according to the report, as the vast majority of people own a mobile phone and have it with them at all times.
Juniper sees mobile banking as a natural addition to the wide choice of applications and services that users can access through their handsets to make life easier, especially via smartphones.
"Transactional or 'push' mobile banking is being offered increasingly by banks via downloadable applications or the mobile web, complementing existing SMS services for balance and simple information enquiries," said Howard Wilcox, author of the report.
"Mobile banking is a key element in banks' distribution channel strategies as they compete to attract and retain customers."
As well as the long-standing 'pull' elements of mobile banking that allow customers to perform basic transactions from their phones, the development of the 'push' aspect can offer greater piece of mind by informing users of activity on their accounts. This could allow them to react faster in cases of fraud, or unexpected debits that would put the account into overdraft.
The research also highlighted some of the hurdles faced by the technology, primarily security, application usability, and financial regulations, which vary from country to country.
Wilcox concluded that, whatever the strength of the security, it is the perception and image in the mind of the user that dictates whether they will trust the service, and hence may help make or break the platform.
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