Statistics from Nokia indicate that the average mobile phone user reaches for their mobile phone 150 times per day, highlighting that more than ever before consumers are relying on their mobile phones in every walk of life. Just as people organise their
diaries, manage their emails, and surf the internet via their smartphones, it is inevitable that they will take advantage of the growing number of mobile banking and payments applications coming on to the market.
However, recent discussions with major stakeholders from the banking and telecoms industries, including senior members of O2, Lloyds Banking Group, and Microsoft, suggest that Britain is slower than other countries to embrace the trend. It is widely believed
that the UK is lagging behind Europe when it comes to mobile banking and payments adoption, despite the plethora of recent developments coming from the Barclays Pingit launch and the roll out of the Starbucks payments app throughout the country.
The reasons vary, and as such a range of remedies will be necessary. Unsurprisingly, perceived security risks are still the most cited barrier to mass adoption, whilst industry insiders also regard a lack of innovation as another challenge hindering the
uptake of mobile banking and mobile payments offerings. Increasing financial services regulation is an obstacle for some banks, with many now having to focus resources on compliance over mobile banking or mobile payment strategies. Subsequently, mobile operators
and technology providers are seeing the gap and are pushing ahead with their plans to bring mobile payments to the masses. The joint mobile venture, Project Oscar – made up of Vodafone, O2 and Everything Everywhere – is a perfect illustration of how the industry
is coming together to tackle the lack of standardisation in the mobile payments space.
The good news is that the London Olympics is currently being touted as the perfect platform to accelerate the roll-out and adoption of mobile banking and mobile payments services in the UK. Companies such as Samsung and Visa are taking advantage of the opportunity
to showcase the latest technology, unveiling their new payments app for the Olympic and Paralympic games at MWC. More than 3000 NFC terminals will be installed across Olympic venues, suggesting that the sporting event will provide the perfect opportunity for
Team GB to run away with a gold medal in the mobile financial services race.
James Richards - Director, Mobile - Intelligent Environments