Glancing across the pond, it’s not entirely clear what the demand for U.S. mobile banking is likely to be in the coming year or two. I thought Netbanker’s explanation for the widely differing forecasts was very good… Imagine the difference in response to these two questions:
- How would you like to press a button on your cellphone that gave you instant, secure, free access to your bank account balance so you didn’t ever bounce a check again, or
- At some point in the future, you might be able to download and install a Java application over the air for your mobile device that provided a subset of the functionality of online banking ported to a 2 inch screen. And, as long as you never left your phone somewhere by mistake, it should be as secure. How excited would you be about that?
Quite. But don’t listen to me about forecasting mobile services: as is occasionally pointed out by friends and enemies alike, I didn’t think prepaid mobile would be a big deal. (“You’re going to ask people to pay up front for a more expensive phone service? No way!) Nevertheless, banks and service providers are rolling mobile products that let customers check account balances, pay bills, transfer money and receive alerts about deposits and payments by mobile phone. By the end of 2007, TowerGroup (part of MasterCard) expects that eight of the ten largest banks will offer mobile banking and bill payment of some kind and predicts that, eventually, up to 25% of existing Internet banking customers will adopt mobile banking.
Celent Communications’ “US Mobile Banking: Beyond the Buzz” report says that estimate is too low. By 2010, Celent predicts, 35% of online banking households will use mobile banking, compared to just 1% today They say that consumers will be attracted by new capabilities such as mobile payments at the physical point of sale, which may well be true but is not obvious. Mobile (ie, NFC) payments look a no-brainer because they’re quick and easy, whereas paying a bill on your phone is neither. Having said that, I was talking with someone the other day about a home shopping using mobile phone experiment and they told me it had gone quite well: people really don’t care if it takes a few minutes and a few keystrokes, provided they’re watching a shopping channel.
These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]