European BlackBerry and iPhone users are nearly three times more likely to use mobile banking services than the owners of other handsets, according to research from Forrester.
The survey of 14000 people in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK shows that mobile banking is still relatively little-used, with application-based systems particularly unpopular.
Just one per cent of European Net users with a mobile phone use banking applications, although this is partly because so few financial institutions offer customers the option. Mobile Internet systems are slightly more popular, with four per cent visiting bank Web sites through handsets. However, SMS-based systems continue to dominate, with 10% of European online mobile phone users signing up for one-way text message alerts from their banks.
Mobile banking is still mainly used by Europeans to check account balances and recent transactions, with far fewer using it to transfer money, and pay bills.
Of those that do not use mobile banking, 40% say they see no value in it and a quarter think they can wait to access their accounts through the phone, Web or ATMs. Over a fifth don't believe it is safe, 16% do not know if their bank offers the service and 11% say they do not have the right technology on their mobile phone.
However, despite the relatively low take-up numbers, Forrester says banks should update their strategies in preparation of a surge in popularity as Europe sees increased smartphone adoption, all-you-can-eat data plans, and more compelling content.
Alexander Hesse, analyst, Forrester, says: "Banks need to decide whether they want to be a mobile banking leader or a follower. Banks like la Caixa and Rabobank have deliberately decided to invest in state-of-the-art mobile banking services. Although this requires them to make substantial investments, it generates a lot of marketing attention and helps these banks position themselves as innovation leaders."