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MWC Day 1 - will 'nomophobia' ever come to banking?

Global mobile data traffic will increase 18-fold between 2011 and 2016, according to Cisco, rising at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 78% from 2011 to 2016. At this rate, by 2016, we really will be in the middle of a mobile data explosion. Of course, 4G and the anticipated growth in video calling will form a huge part of this peak in mobile data traffic. But the figures also reflect the growing reliance that people have for their mobile device – both within the business environment and their personal lives. The mobile phone has become indispensable to many, with lives converging on this single device. This sense of dependence has even been diagnosed as a condition – nomophobia – or the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.

While people obsess about being connected, the financial services industry is dragging its heels in making the mobile phone indispensable to banking. Using your mobile for even the most basic of banking services is still the exception, rather than the rule. So, how to make things change?

For me, the key lies in two main areas: innovation and partnerships. Innovation is about deploying market-leading digital services, and also competing with new players that are using digital technology to disrupt the traditional banking model. I’ve talked about this in detail in a previous blog. Partnerships are about financial institutions realising that they don’t have to and, indeed shouldn’t, strive for innovation alone. I plan to blog more about this from MWC later.

While banks may not wish to go so far as to diagnose a customer with nomophobia, they do risk missing out on a huge societal trend (and the associated business benefits) if they don’t start to offer customers greater services via the mobile device.

Comments: (2)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 28 February, 2012, 10:30Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

The failure of the UK banks to 'get mobile' means much of the blame for the historical slow adoption of mobile banking sits squarely on their own shoulders.  Up until last year most of the UK banks were only offering online banking reskins, java and text banking services. 

In term of current usage the 10-20% of bank customers who are mobile banking users are addicted and login generally 20 times a month. 

Think about that for a second.  That is about 5 times a week. 

The tide is turning though.  With RBS and Llloyds both announcing well over 1m active users, and Pingit getting over 100k downloads in little over a week the numbers can't be ignored.  Banks need to ask themselves this...Has over 100k customer visited your new branch in central London in a week?

John Dring
John Dring - Intel Network Services - Swindon 29 February, 2012, 12:15Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I dont know about nomophobia, but I cetrtainly get 'chargo-phobia'  (sorry couldn't be very innovative here).  The fear of running out of mobile charge with nowhere to plug in or with the wrong power adapter which are not yet standard.   Owning a smart phone is fine, but actually try using it like a tablet and then you'll find out the battery limitations within an hour.

The other mobile related phobia is 'roamo-phobia'.  That panic that travellers experience when they realise they forgot to disable data roaming after a day in MWC.  Those bill shock charges border on the insane, for no good reason other than the Operators can still skin you for actually using the device you already pay for.