US consumers using wireless banking services on a regular basis will total seven million by 2005, up from 500,000 in 2001, according to GartnerG2, a research service from Gartner.
GartnerG2 predicts the number of mobile banking users will more than double year-on-year to reach 2.6 million in 2003. Consumers will routinely use wireless banking to receive and pay bills, make cashless purchases, apply for credit or services that require identity validation, and get cash from an ATM or live teller, forecasts the research house.
"Compared to many other countries, US consumer demand for wireless financial services is immature, but it's evolving rapidly," says Brad Adrian, research analyst for GartnerG2.
Currently, few financial service providers have launched wireless offerings, and only the largest brokerages - and about eight percent of midsize and large banks - have taken the plunge.
"Financial service providers need to anticipate what services consumers will most likely use and how quickly a viable market will develop for such services," Adrian says. "The companies must design wireless offerings to enhance CRM and self-service, not just to generate fees."
In a seperate piece of research, GartnerG2 finds US consumers moving to adopt credit card company solutions to protect against online fraud.
Of 1000 adult US online consumers questioned in January 2002, 5.2 percent claim to have fallen victim to credit card fraud in the previous year. Eighteen percent of those surveyed are attempting to fight fraud by embracing two new credit card protection systems: Visa's Verified by Visa and MasterCard's Universal Cardholder Authentication Field (UCAF) standard and Secure Payment Application (SPA).
"After years of missteps, the credit card companies have finally got it right with their consumer authentication technology. Consumers are willing to adopt the easy-to-use password-based applications," says Avivah Litan, vice president and research director, GartnerG2.
Consumers also believe the new Visa and MasterCard systems offer better protection than PKI or smart cards, says Litan, indicating that branding may be far more important than technically robust security schemes.