Research from Celent suggests that the mobile banking channel will grow from one per cent of US Web banking households today, to 35% within the next three years - a forecast that breaks with downbeat assessments from other analyst houses.
The study predicts that new functionalities will make mobile banking more distinct from Web banking, which will attract more users and drive growth.
For example more customers will be able to use their mobile phones to make payments at the physical point of sale, and these contactless m-payments will make up 10% of the contactless market by 2010.
Younger people will drive the growth on m-banking, says Celent, with around 40% of younger consumers survey for the study saying that mobile services would be a factor in their choice of bank. Celent predicts that five years from now, a large proportion of this group will use mobiles to retrieve data and conduct transactions frequently.
Furthermore Celent estimates that by 2010 around 70% of bank call centre volume will come from mobile phones, but half of these calls will be a basic balance inquiry. Once this service is readily available on a mobile phone, a customer inquiry via mobile banking - as opposed to a call centre - will cost less and be an impetus for banks to embrace the channel, says Celent.
Commenting on the research, Dan Schatt, senior analyst at Celent, says: "The mobile banking end game will not be about checking balances and paying bills. It will evolve into a mobile wallet, allowing banks to generate greater electronic payment volume through the combination of electronic loyalty programs, mobile marketing, and contactless payments."
Celent's positive assessment is in sharp contrast to a study conducted by JupiterResearch earlier this year which found that despite renewed efforts by banks, consumer interest in mobile banking is limited.
The JupiterResearch found that just eight percent of online consumers who own a mobile phone are interested in using their hand sets to access account balances.