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Finance 2.0

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A turning point in the history of mobile financial services

22 December 2011  |  5752 views  |  0

With 2011 drawing to a close, it’s clear that the year has seen exciting changes in mobile banking and payments, with innovative advancements to enhance the consumer experience being delivered. In particular, there have been positive developments from UK banks and retailers in the mobile banking space, culminating in the launch of Lloyds TSB’s successful new banking app. Earlier in the year, ING Direct paved the way for banking innovation, with the news that the organisation is offering the use of ‘Bump’ technologies to transfer funds in a simple and convenient manner. This was followed by announcements by major non-banking players such as O2 and Orange of their moves into the mobile money space. In September, Google launched its mobile wallet in the US, which has been seen by many as the first step towards making mobile payments mainstream. However, the fact is that many solutions in the market still lack the appeal required for mass adoption. For UK consumers to embrace the mobile banking trend, the user experience needs to provide more added value for them to make the transition from other banking channels. In terms of mobile payments, there is still a lot of complexity in the market, specifically with NFC, and the industry will need big players and standards to deliver broad consumer adoption.

Fortunately, the tide of smartphone innovation is set to continue into 2012, with Israeli start-up XTR3D recently winning £5 million of investment in its exciting ‘touchless’ motion capture technology. Furthermore, Microsoft Kinect has announced that it will release its own version of the new software in early 2012, bringing motion capture to the commercial market, and offering a glimpse of the advancements which are set to come. 2012 will also see new mobile financial services offerings from the mobile network operators, bringing with it a raft of new innovation to challenge the traditional banks . These advancements in smartphone and mobile payments technology will offer a new customer experience, helping to encourage smartphone uptake and making the end user experience more appealing. As a result, over the next 12 months we are likely to see a shift in the way Brits choose to bank, with 2012 set to be the year that European countries follow the lead of more technologically progressive nations, such as the US, in deploying superior mobile banking services.

2011 has been a pivotal year for the adoption of mobile banking and payments, but can be seen as just the first stepping stone to future advancements. The onward march towards a customer-centric approach to mobile financial services will aid mass adoption of mobile banking on a global scale, as banks aim to bridge the branch and mobile banking experiences to suit the busy modern world. Where 2011 was the year mobile financial services made its mark, 2012 will be the year it goes mainstream.

James Richards (Director, Mobile - IE)


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