I’ve been watching with increasing fascination at the explosive growth in mobile banking, now dubbed by those in the know as M-Banking. The $100bn floatation of Facebook this week clearly demonstrates how quickly a technology based service can rapidly take over the world, the figures for M-Banking certainly suggest this is an area to watch closely.
It is estimated that there are 1.7 billion people in the world who own a mobile phone but do not possess a bank account. M-Banking is already widely used in the developing world where there is little or no infrastructure and banks can only be found in major cities. Countries such as Kenya, Somalia, Iran, Pakistan and Bangladesh have embraced M-Banking enthusiastically.
The opportunities for European banks are obvious as at least 80% of consumers use a mobile phone. M-Banking is likely to appeal even more as services such as peer-to-peer payments, mobile top ups and commercial payment processing become increasingly accessible for consumers. The marketers amongst you are probably already thinking of the possibilities involving brand development, customer engagement, lead generation and cross selling.
Do you think that we are now on an unstoppable path towards a fully functioning “mobile wallet”? Are the barriers to growth – such as encryption security problems and the diverse array of devices in circulation – going to prove insurmountable? Would you be happy to you use such as service yourself?
Comments, as ever, would be appreciated.
Andrew McIntee is Director of Financial Services at Interim Partners.