US mobile finance approaches tipping point - research

US mobile finance approaches tipping point - research

Mobile phone-based financial services are approaching a tipping point in the US and banks that fail to act risk losing customers to more aggressive competitors, according to research from Mercatus.

Mercatus surveyed over 1400 US adults for the Visa-sponsored research, finding that nearly a third of consumers are using, or considering using, mobile financial services in the next year.

Additionally, responses indicate that consumer adoption will grow significantly during the next five years, exceeding the use of online banking by 2015. The current pace of mobile adoption exceeds past innovations including ATMs, debit cards and Web banking, says the research house.

The study indicates that a bank's ability to offer mobile services is becoming more important for customers when opening an account than the availability of online banking, access to ATMs, or nearby branches.

The consultancy claims that a massive 60% increase in sales could be anticipated for first-mover banks.

This is in part because mobile services are most attractive to younger people with higher incomes and those that hold bigger balances, use more banking and card products, and display lower rates of attrition.

Bob Hedges, managing partner, Mercatus, says: "Owing to its rapid pace of adoption, mobile is a market that offers a clear first-mover advantage. Banks that act soon, and aggressively deploy mobile financial services, will capture a clear market opportunity. Banks that delay will risk losing their best customers to the competition."

The research chimes with a report from TowerGroup earlier this year that predicted a breakthrough for mobile banking in the US, as it moves from niche to mainstream in 2009, attracting 10 million active users.

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