US mobile banking goes mainstream - TowerGroup

US mobile banking goes mainstream - TowerGroup

This year will see a breakthrough for mobile banking in the US, as it moves from niche to mainstream, attracting 10 million active users, according to TowerGroup.

Furthermore, the research house predicts this will be just the beginning, as an explosion in the popularity of the channel leads to over 53 million active mobile banking users in 2013, representing a compound annual growth rate of 51.8%.

TowerGroup identifies the recession as a key factor in mobile banking's growth, as economic concerns prompt people to manage their finances more closely.

More broadly, the proliferation of mobile devices and smart phones "symbolises a pervasive, networked consumer market", revolutionising many aspects of the consumer lifestyle, including finance.

Charul Vyas, analyst, emerging technologies practice, TowerGroup, says: "The ubiquity of mobile devices, coupled with customers' craving for information on the go, is creating the perfect opportunity for banks to extend the reach of their banking services using the most personal possession for consumers - the mobile phone. At a time when every customer counts, mobile banking is an avenue for banks to reach new audiences and grow their business."

TowerGroup says most financial services firms currently view mobile banking as an add-on for Internet customers. However, the firm advises banks to use the technology as a way of drawing in new customers, such as the unbanked, ethnic minorities and "generation Y", which wants self-service, innovation and electronic transactions with no need for human interaction.

Despite TowerGroup's optimism, mobile banking still faces obstacles in the US. A KPMG survey last month found just nine per cent of Americans have used their mobile phones for banking with cost and security concerns presenting major obstacles to adoption.

Of those who have not used m-banking, 48% cite security and privacy as the primary reason. The survey also highlights a lack of awareness on mobile banking, with 68% claiming their financial institution does not offer the service.

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