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Mobile banking is about small screen real estate

Is it a sign of economic recovery that people at Sibos 2010 have such a good sense of humour?

Like this speaker at the Mobile Keynote who stated that “mobile banking is about small screen real estate”. Hilarious!

In case you didn’t know yet, mobile is not just a new channel and should certainly not be considered as one. Don’t think that it’s just about taking your products and making them available via the mobile channel just like you did with the Internet channel. No, there are many more opportunities than that.
Mobile is ubiquitous, convenient, location based, highly personal and it is always on. For years we have wanted to know our customers, well now we can. Not only can you access and interact with your customers, you even know where they are.

Mobile is possibly the most disruptive technology since the Gutenberg press and the Internet. Tapping mobile banking provides the opportunity to close the gap between customer behaviour and banking innovation.

So what are we waiting for? Mobile operators have grasped the opportunity to introduce mobile money and mobile payments. Although it’s not their core business, offering payment and banking services reduces churn and is a good way to collect prepaid money. And if it costs $20 million to launch the service, well that’s a business case easily made. The fact that mobile operators already have a billing relationship with their customers obviously helps.

Diane Reyes from Citi made an interesting case about why banks should participate in mobile banking. Banks have a license to capture deposits, they know how to conform to KYC and AML requirements and have a good knowledge of regulatory requirements. They have payment and clearing capabilities and fully integrated cash-in/cash-out networks and know how to manage liquidity.  And the good thing is that it all works pretty well.
So how do we go about implementing mobile banking then?

Don’t think channel, think behaviour. Think about the medium enterprise that wants to make payroll payments to its unbanked employees. Think about the small merchant that can connect a card reader to its iPhone and collect credit card payments. Think about the Dutch friends sharing a bill without having to run out to the ATM to get cash.  Think about the McDonalds in Jakarta that can take mobile payments and doesn’t need to spend 12% of its revenue on physical cash distribution and security.

Don’t think front of wallet. Think front of mobile.


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