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Mobile banking to reach a half billion consumers by 2013: study

Mobile banking is expected to continue to rise by 2013 with a half billion consumers using the services, according to a study from Juniper Research.

In the “Banking anytime anywhere” report Juniper looked at how mobile banking is spreading across different countries and which consumers are more likely to use it. The study also looked at which mobile banking channels are most popular.

“As individuals become more mobile, online banking on the PC will become fairly limited,” said Sonia Lalli, research analyst at Juniper Research, Hampshire, Britain.

“However, with the advancement and adoption of tablet devices it is likely that online banking will remain an adopted delivery channel by individuals,” she said.

“As consumers prefer having a choice of delivery channels, mobile is likely to reinforce online banking as mutually constitutive entities.”

Mobile money
Juniper’s research looked at eight regions of the world in the United States, South America, Europe and Asia and made predictions for the next five years in the area.

By the end of 2011, Juniper predicts that 300 million mobile phone users will access mobile banking using their devices, showing the increased need for banks and financial institutions to include mobile as a service to clients.

The Far East and China will continue to lead the pack with the greatest number of consumers accessing mobile banking, followed by Western Europe.

In particular, Latin American markets will grow substantially before 2016.

SMS will also continue to be the most accessible version of mobile banking because it reaches both feature phone and smartphone owners.

Per Juniper’s research, financial institutions need to up their mobile game and offer at least SMS programs to all clients in 2012.

Mobile Web will also continue to be important for financial institutions to reach a broad group of consumers in a slightly more tech-savvy way. Mobile applications will also be used by financial institutions but should be less emphasized because of fragmentation across devices.

Mobile banking is more than just an added bonus for consumers – it is becoming an essential part of criteria they look for when choosing a bank.

Place your bets
Juniper has big bets on how mobile banking will affect payments and commerce in the coming years.

Additionally, the company defines the mobile commerce market being made up of mobile payments, mobile retail and mobile banking.

The three inevitably tie together with transactions, information and alerts, mobile point-of-sale and remote access all being factors that will impact the mobile commerce ecosystem.

Per the study, the most active mobile banking consumers are aged 16 – 25.

The study also points to the current economic downturn as a reason for mobile banking to flourish because users want to keep a tight grip on their finances.

“[Mobile banking] will accelerate rapidly in the current financial climate as mobile usage, particularly with smartphones, continues to aggressively accelerate,” Ms. Lalli said.

“All banks will have some kind of provision for mobile banking as a critical revenue channel – even the smaller ones – and more advanced deployments will develop more intuitive applications that are being afforded by improved technological capacity,” she said.

“It will also enable more individuals, particularly in the developing world where there remain a preponderance of high unbanked, for individuals to become financial included and active.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York