Top trends in mobile banking

The world’s in the midst of a mobile revolution, in more ways than one – but New Zealand isn’t just a sheep following the herd. We’re doing things a bit differently.

Here are some global headlines:

·       87 percent of the world’s population have a mobile phone subscription, outnumbering landline subscribers by 5-to-1. That’s 6 billion mobiles! 1.2 billion people use their mobiles to access the internet, outnumbering fixed broadband connections 2-to-1.

·       Many of us use only mobile to access the internet, including 25 percent of mobile internet users in the US.

·       Sometime in the next 12 to 24 months, depending on who you ask, mobile will overtake desktop web browsing. Mobile usage at Facebook is a bellwether – according to its IPO statement, Facebook “had more than 425 million mobile active users in December 2011”. Whoa!

And here is a somewhat surprising fact: while smartphone sales (primarily iPhones and Androids) are growing quickly and clearly driving some of these trends, ‘feature phone’ sales (think Nokia/Symbian platform) still outnumber smartphone sales by two to one. Put another way, of all the mobile phones sold worldwide in 2011, 94 percent were not iPhones.

So, where does mobile banking fit? Right in the thick of the action.  There were an estimated 55 million active mobile financial services users globally in 2009, and that’s expected to increase to 1.1 billion (!)  in 2015. Asia, particularly China and India, leads the charge.

There are good reasons for this – customers in these markets can leapfrog the lack of physical banking infrastructure (for branch banking) and lack of decent telco landline services by going mobile. And that’s one of the key drivers of large banks from all over the world – banking the unbanked, or the variation in Western countries – banking the under-banked.

This is reflected in outsized growth rates in mobile banking in developing economies and among those with lower incomes, youth and minorities in the US. The US Federal Reserve has gone as far as stating that mobile is “closing the digital divide”.

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Posted on Jun 26, 2012 - 10:58 AM