Banks take centre stage in mobile monetisation push

Banks take centre stage in mobile monetisation push

Having sat on the sidelines for years, banks are finally finding their voice in the mobile monetisation conversation, with several signing up to global trade association MEF, whose chairman, Andrew Bud, recently sat down with Finextra.

Once an organisation predominantly made up of mobile operators and vendors, MEF now boasts three major banks among its ranks.

"It's very telling that three years ago our European chapter had a number of major mobile operators and no financial institutions on board. This year we have three major banks from Europe and the Middle East but no Western European operators anymore," Bud told Finextra.

"Barclays, Rabobank and Barwa bank are now directors of MEF and that speaks volumes about the way the market is changing."

This change reflects the dramatic increase in the number of consumers now using their phones for banking purposes. In its 2012 consumer survey of 9,500 people from 10 countries, MEF found that 64% of participants use their mobile for 'some kind of banking function'.

The surge in uptake is most apparent in data from Saudi Arabia and from South Africa, where the number of people checking their bank balance on their phone rose from 29% to 50% in one year.

However, according to Bud, regulatory issues are still proving to be a barrier to growth. While Kenya's relaxed regime has seen M-Pesa flourish, things are far tougher for firms in places like India, where it is more complex to put together a mobile payments scheme. To launch M-Pesa in India, Vodafone has teamed up with local bank Icici.

Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 03 June, 2013, 14:39Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Having claimed that Banks Have Nothing To Fear From TELCOs, I'm happy - and relieved - to note, "This year we have three major banks from Europe and the Middle East but no Western European operators anymore".

In the past, whenever I've read that Vodafone had launched M-PESA in India, I've checked the availability date. Everytime, Vodafone India has told me that it has no immediate plans of launching any mobile wallet in India. Let me try again and see if my experience is any different this time. It's not only complex to launch a mobile payment scheme in India but, with the current regulatory requirement of linking mobile wallets to bank accounts, it really serves no useful purpose.