Over 150 million people in developed markets will be using their mobile phones as an additional banking channel by 2011, according to a study from Juniper Research.
Juniper says the Far East is still home to the most developed m-banking market but North America and Western Europe are seeing growing numbers of services and customers. By 2011 these three regions will account for over 70% of the m-banking user base.
The report says mobile banking will gain in popularity because people, especially the young, always carry their handset with them, making the service convenient. Mobile banking is just one of numerous applications and services people can access through their handsets to make life easier.
Juniper also suggests an imminent sea-change in functionality, as the raft of SMS messaging services for balance and simple information enquiries are joined by more powerful transactional banking services available via downloadable applications or the mobile Web.
Howard Wilcox, Juniper Research, says: "Mobile banking is a key element in banks' distribution channel strategies as they compete to attract and retain customers."
However the report identifies several factors that will need addressing to foster market development, including financial regulations which vary from country to country, application slickness, and security.