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Elton Cane

Elton Cane

Elton Cane - writer & tech geek

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Innovation in Financial Services

Innovation in Financial Services

A discussion of trends in innovation management within financial institutions, and the key processes, technology and cultural shifts driving innovation.

10 years of mobile banking - what's changed?

12 April 2010  |  5581 views  |  1

Is it just me, or does mobile banking seem to perpetually be the next big thing?

Maybe it's because I remember how underwhelmed I was by the first generation of WAP browsers on mobile phones when trying to access my bank account in 2000, but over the past decade I can count on one hand the number of times I've done "mobile banking" on my phone, other than speak to a call centre operative.

Admittedly, the full web browsing capabilities of more recent smartphones now make it more attractive. And so does the wider range of use cases for "mobile banking and payments."

But according to Citi, their abandoned trials in mobile person-to-person payments show them that the demand still isn't there. "U.S. consumers are now just getting comfortable with using their mobile phone for a lot of things," said a Citi MD in this American Banker article.

So if making it easier to split a dinner bill without using cash isn't the killer app, maybe it will be contactless payments and personal financial management tools?

Cormac Flanagan has an interesting post here, with a scenario for mobile banking in 2020. It doesn't sound too far fetched, based on technology out there today. But it's a lot easier to predict what technology might be available in the future than it is to predict how people will actually want to use it.


TagsRetail banking

Comments: (1)

John Dring
John Dring - Intel Network Services - Swindon | 12 April, 2010, 13:30

Hi Elton - WAP1 Banking and Brokerage.  Yes, what a disappointment and part of the 'Wap is Cr*p' problem that set mobile internet back years because all the operators got burnt after over-hyping what you could (or couldn't) do on your phone.

Banks and Mobile Operators just can't seem to work together on making this good for the consumer - the concerns over brand damage and liability are just too high.  Designers still insist on offering STK based (SIM) apps because they say this offers control of the code, signing and hence security that a JAVA Client does not, AND is ubiquitous across all handsets, Smartphone or not.  But the user experience is simplistic and limited.  A thick Client (App) can be so much richer but the Banks don't seem to trust themselves with offering it.

And apathy is a problem too - who wants to check their balance daily?? Or order a cheque book from your mobile!  These are old Use Cases and can just as easily be provided via SMS.  Noone wants to pay for mobile banking either - since it is free via the ATM or PC, so its a 'table stakes' offering for the Bank/Operator with limited revenue potential.

These days its all about NFC and using your phone for payments of all kinds - because then there is a margin to be had.  But the NFC trials are dominated by the big Payment networks and amount to strapping a credit card/NFC chip to the phone to use at a normal POS device.

In the end, I equate it to the problem with Roaming Data Charges - its a little too unknown and complicated for everyday consumers to be bothered with it, and they just wait til they get to a PC.   I just want a quick way to be able to pay someone, without it costing an arm and leg or taking me ages to get authenticated.  Its not that much to ask, but anything to do with real money gets complicated quickly.

IMO - let banks stick with browser based banking and as smart phones get better you can do the same from those as from a PC, with TLS 128bit encryption.  Just make the UI less cluttered.


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