This week, McKinsey and EFMA issued
a report on the future of mobile banking in Europe. Is it a surprise? Not exactly. What strikes me about the report is that whilst banks admit that they are not investing enough they do recognise that mobile banking is the way forward and will become the
service of choice amongst consumers. What also strikes me is that banks have acknowledged that telcos and non-banks are leading the way.
Yet, mobile banking has still to fully develop. The challenge is attractive: Gartner expects the global mobile payment market to reach 349m users and transactions to reach $429bn in 2015.
If mobile payments are to be a success, banks should get back on the bandwagon as they are one of the five key stakeholders that are needed. The other four are: merchants, mobile phone operators, consumers and the security industry. Without any one of these
parties, for all the promise – and media excitement – adoption of the mobile wallet will be far slower than it could be.
We need buy-in from merchants, or consumers won’t be able to use their mobile wallets, but we also need engagement from phone manufacturers because without an NFC (Near Field Communications) enabled mobile phone, there won’t be a mobile wallet to use.
This is the classic chicken-and-egg scenario but with a few extra eggs thrown into the mix. Banks need to be able to facilitate access to consumers’ funds, and consumers will need to trust that their payments are safe. Connecting all of these stakeholders
is a security industry that has to provide strong, simple (from the consumer’s perspective) solutions to prevent mobile wallet fraud.
In most city high streets we already have major retail chains using NFC. Penetration of mobile phones in many developed countries exceeds 100% whilst in growth countries, the rate of growth of mobile phone penetration way exceeds any other form of telecommunications.
What is clearly still lacking, however, is consumer confidence in the security of the mobile wallet. The McKinsey and EFMA report fails to articulate this point. This is where the contribution of the security industry is key, to provide the right products
for the job, then to help banks and merchants educate the public about how safe mobile payments can be.
Mobile wallets are coming. But whether it is two years or five until most people in the lunchtime sandwich queue are paying by NFC, is largely down to decisions taken now.