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US mobile banking subscribers doubling every year: ABI

Out of the 407 million people expected to use their phones for mobile banking, approximately 66 million will be in North America, while the majority of subscribers are from the Asia-Pacific region.

“The numbers are growing in the United States rather rapidly, and over time Europe and North America are going to be the regions that offer the best long-term conditions for mobile banking,” said Mark Beccue, senior analyst for ABI Research, Oyster Bay, NY.

ABI Research is a market intelligence company specializing in global connectivity and emerging technology. The company provides forward-looking insight for decision makers in the technology industry.

The research firm specializes in emerging trends in connectivity and technology.

North America vs. Asia-Pacific
There were less than 10 million subscribers in North America in 2009, while the Asia-Pacific region had around 22 million subscribers.

ABI Research claims that the global number of subscribers more than doubled between 2008 and 2009, and is expected to double again in 2010.

The mobile banking market has been limited so far in Europe and North America because the service is offered to existing users of online banking services.

ABI Research said that because of the wide access consumers have to computers and physical bank branches, they are less motivated to subscribe to mobile banking.

“People understand that they can do these things with their phones, especially those that have smartphone devices such as iPhones [and Android-enabled devices],” Mr. Beccue said. 

Mobile banking offerings
For example, Wells Fargo launched text-based mobile banking, which allows consumers easier access to their banking services.

Consumers opt-in by texting to Wells Fargo’s common short code 93557.

The company also has a WAP site at

Additionally, the financial institution offers iPhone users an application called CEO Mobile for commercial banking services.

The free application was designed to alert corporate and business customers to pending transactions. CEO Mobile also connects consumers to online commercial banking services (see story).

As more banks roll out services like the ones Wells Fargo has in place, mobile banking will grow exponentially.

“It’s not a real big surprise in terms of the U.S. – that their numbers aren’t super rapid yet,” Mr. Beccue said. “Over time, 66 million Americans is a lot, but it’s still a quarter of the population, roughly.

“It’s not going to be something that everyone will use, but a significant amount of people will use,” he said.