Global mobile banking take up is set to soar over the next five years, with the number of people using the technology growing from 20 million in 2008 to 913 million in 2014, a CAGR of 89%, according to Berg Insight.
The research suggests Asia Pacific will be become the most important regional market, accounting for 65% of the total user base, whilst the technology will also pick up in Africa and the Middle East, bring financial services to people currently unbanked.
In contrast, mobile banking will mainly serve as an extension of existing online services in Europe and North America as handsets become more widely used for Internet access. By 2014, the research forecasts that mobile banking will attract 110 million users in Europe and 80 million in North America.
"Mobile handsets are in an excellent position to become the primary digital channel for providers of banking and related financial services on emerging markets," says Marcus Persson, telecom analyst, Berg Insight. "People who sign up for their first mobile subscription today will likely open their first bank account in the coming years and thus join the modern financial system."
The report also highlights the potential of international remittances, predicting that between five per cent and 20% of cross border money transfers currently handled by various formal or informal agent networks will be carried out using a mobile handset by 2014, generating $170 million to $680 million in service revenues.
The Berg Insight forecasts are broadly in line with a study from Juniper Research last year which predicted the number of people accessing banking services via their mobile phones will hit 816 million by 2011.