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20pc of tablet owners will pay bills via devices by 2017: study

In Juniper’s “Mobile Banking: Handset & Tablet Market Strategies 2013-2017” report, the research firm looks at the role that tablets will increasingly play in financial management. The report points to a growing need for financial institutions to develop tablet-specific mobile sites and applications.

“It is legitimate to say that the overwhelming majority of tablet owners will also possess smartphones – those tablet owners will want to access the same content via both devices,” said Nitin Bhas, senior analyst at Juniper Research, Hampshire, England.

“However, as adoption rates accelerate, mobile banking vendors should seek to develop enhanced service provisions that specifically exploit the tablet’s greater capacity,” he said.

“Enabling more intricate action with its superior multi-touch functionality, vendors could for example, produce banks apps that utilize the tablet’s larger screen to offer more detailed and interactive content such as bank statements.”

Bank on tablets
Although there will be growth in the tablet market in the next five years, smartphones will continue to take the lion’s share of use.

The forecasted 20 percent of tablet owners that will use their devices to pay bills will represent 19 percent of total mobile banking consumers, for example.

Consumers who use mobile banking services via their tablets will be equivalent to 200 million consumers in 2017.

To compare, Juniper predicts that nine percent of tablet owners today use their devices to manage their finances.

Earlier this year, Juniper released a report that mobile banking will be used by one million consumers by 2017, which represents 15 percent of the global market of mobile users.

This represents an 18 percent global compound annual rate, which tablets will contribute to with higher projected ownership (see story).

According to the report, the areas with the highest mobile penetration will be the United States, North America, Western Europe and the Far East and China in 2017.

Tablet-specific features
The report also pinpoints specific features that tablet owners will prefer to manage via their devices.

Mobile bill presentation and payment transaction features will have a higher adoption rate with tablet owners than mobile phone bankers.

When consumers are on their tablets, they are more likely to complete more pull services, such as paying a bill. Push features such as alerts and messages are more geared towards mobile phone bankers.

The trick for financial institutions though will be developing these services specifically for tablets. Financial institutions need to differentiate their smartphone and tablet mobile strategies to account for both screen size and context.

Additionally, mobile is increasingly becoming an expectation from consumers, which forces financial institutions to constantly stay one step ahead.

“Mobile banking is largely additive and bank-led, integrating the physical product with the digital in forming a complete banking package, particularly targeting young banking customers who organize most of their lives through the mobile device,” Mr. Bhas said.

“This has been reinforced by heightened usage of apps and substantial tablet uptake,” he said.

“Consequently, an ultra-developed reality is beginning to materialize, demonstrated by the launch of completely branchless banks. Mobile banking merchants in this setting must particularly consider how to capitalize on smartphone and tablet capabilities in creating attractive, immersive and personalized content that adds value to existing banking services and meets consumer expectations.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York