Barclays' foray into mobile banking is reaping rewards, as once dormant Internet accounts are re-actived by mobile enthusiasts.
The UK bank introduced a specific mobi domain site in 2007, giving customers web pages designed specifically for viewing on mobile phones. Over time it has been progressively revamping the site to provide streamlined access to account information and geo-location tools and maps to improve the experience for customers on the move.
Barclays is now experiencing an upsurge in interest as smartphone sales boom and customers become more reliant on their handheld devices for accessing information on the go.
Talking about the dot.mobi factor on a recent Finextra Webcast
, Tom Gregory, head of digital payments at Barclays, says the popularity of the site has exceeded expectations.
"More than that, we have had a number of customers that have been inactive on our online site, who are now regularly using the dot.mobi site on their mobile," he says. "What that has told us is that there are different channels for different customers and if we can cater for all of them that's a positive step forward."
Speaking on the same panel, Nick Staib, a security and mobile specialist on direct banking at HSBC, suggested that in the future most Internet content will be consumed via mobile and tablet-sized devices. "Mobile is where our customers are," he says. "Just as we built our branches on the high street to be closer to customers, so we have to invest in mobile development."
HSBC has been criticised in the past for a cautious approach to mobile banking, pushing little more than simple alerts and account balance information to customer handhelds. Behind the scenes, however, Staib says the bank has been busy building and proto-typing different product scenarios.
In terms of future experiments in the mobile payment and funds transfer space, Staib says: "What we want to do is something simple and standard and works for everybody. What we don't want to do is rush out something that works for one operator but disenfranchises other customers. We are waiting - all the UK banks are waiting - for standards to emerge."