India tops Asia Pacific survey for mobile banking penetration

India tops Asia Pacific survey for mobile banking penetration

A survey conducted on behalf of Sybase 365 by Singapore-based research firm BDM Intelligence has found that 81% of Indian respondents are aware they can check bank balance on a mobile phone, while 49% have used the services in the last three months - the highest amongst the five countries surveyed in the region.

The survey consisted of 1,818 interviews covering India, Singapore, Taiwan, China and Australia and was conducted in May 2007. It found an average awareness of mobile account balance checking and payments of 11%, and penetration of 8%.

Of those that have used mobile banking services across the five countries, 50% are satisfied or highly satisfied with the service, and 12% are unsatisfied.

While awareness and penetration were currently highest in India, the survey report, titled 'Mobile Opportunities for Financial Sector' found that Australia and Singapore had the most conducive circumstances for achieving a mature mobile banking market.

On the demand side, 72% of Australians expressed their keen interest to deal their finances on the move. Both Singaporeans (63%) and Australians (62%) would like to interact with their bank via mobile.

But the survey found that security concerns are barriers to mobile banking. The Internet is still perceived as a safer platform for carrying out financial transactions, with security concerns for mobile banking at 36% compared to 8% for Internet banking.

But the level of concern over mobile banking security among consumers in Australia and Singapore is lower than that of those in other countries studied. The report infers that having established mobile security frameworks in those countries may be the reason.

The report also notes that respondents from Taiwan and China have more difficulty understanding and using mobile banking services compared to those in other countries, as well as having a higher level of security concerns.

The Chinese market could be particularly challenging. Although mobile device penetration is increasingly rapidly there, this has been accompanied by a proliferation of scams encouraged by a text-message market that is growing at more than 50% a year. The BDM Intelligence report also quotes a Bloomberg report that banking frauds account for 44% of the messages that are tracked by the police.

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