Mobile banking: developing on all fronts

POSTED BY Global Administrator
As regular readers of our blog will know, I'm quite a fan of Google Alerts. The other day my Alert on mobile banking was alive with market developments:

KeyBank in the US launched mobile banking to its whole customer base

M-Com launched a software-as-a-service (SaaS) version of its mobile banking and payment platform BankAnywhere

In Trinidad & Tobago, First Citizens’ mobile banking service has been described as the ultimate money management tool

Bank of China Hong Kong (BOCHK) has launched BOCHK Mobile Banking, whilst Sterling Bank of Asia has also launched

In the UK Lloyds TSB reduced the monthly charge for mobile banking from £2.50 to free

Bank of America (a mobile banking pioneer) is understood to be testing mobile banking remote deposit capture and to be introducing a new mobile banking service that lets customers manage their finances

Sybase 365 announced version 3.0 of Sybase mBanking 365

So..six or seven developments coming from both vendors and banks all reported in one day. To me, this sounds like a market that's going places. Actually, this is my point. Maybe it's a case of "you ain't seen nothing yet"!! Let me explain. Whilst our research showed that 80% of banks do offer some form of mobile banking, not all of them are really exploiting the potential - quite a few are taking quite tentative steps at the moment and offering fairly limited services. So I mean restricted variety of messaging types - maybe balance alerts and mini statements of the last 5 transactions - and no smartphone app. Then of course they are those that don't offer the mobile channel as yet. Don't get me wrong. Every market profiles in this way - early adopters, majority etc. With mobile banking there is so much upside scope via cost savings allied with improved customer service that I'd be surprised if most banks aren't looking at expanding their services or introducing it if they haven't already done so. Cost savings? Well a simple example would be the cost of an SMS balance message compared with calling the call centre. Or an SMS to say your loan application has been received as opposed to a letter. Naturally, the mobile channel won't suit all customers. But it's a case of providing additional channel choice and convenience on top of the usual channels such as bank branch, ATM, call centre and online. That's why we're forecasting some 400 million users worldwide by 2013.