Mobile banking - Key to success is in developing 'anywhere' applications

In one of my earlier postings I have talked about the synergies whcih the Telcos & banks can enjoy in their operations. I have always been a strong supporter of Telcos (especailly in India) entering into banking sector. For those who are interested the study of South Africa can be helpful where telecom company has entered into banking space. The conditions in India (the number of people having bank account viv a vis tose having mobile/telecom subscribtion) are quiet same as the ones in South Africa. But recently I came accross a survey results on mobile-banking and thought I should share it. The highlights of the survey carried by JupiterResearch (The group advises major U.S. banks, which are working to expand mobile banking offerings, to experiment with services that leverage the mobile channel's characteristics to respond to the needs of three key consumers segments) are -

- people prefer to do their banking either online or in person, with research showing that, despite renewed efforts on the part of financial institutions, overall interest in mobile-banking services is limited.
- Just 8 percent of online consumers who own a wireless device are interested in using mobile browsing to check account balances.

Currently, Wachovia's nearly 6 million customers can use their cellphones or personal digital assistants to check accounts and to transfer funds. The mobile service requires an encrypted user name and password. In addition, the bank launched a third-party mobile banking application with AT&T Wireless and Firethorn that allows bill payment, which wasn't available in the initial Wachovia application. BancorpSouth, SunTrust Banks Inc. and Regional Financial Corp. have also selected Firethorn's mobile banking and payments system.
Visa USA launched its mobile platform in January and has made strategic investments in .mobi, ecrio (for barcode coupons and ticket purchases) and VeriSign (which will support the mobile platform). Rival card company MasterCard Worldwide also has a program that allows consumers to shop or bank with specific credit cards and debit cards via cellphones; users are required to enter a PIN, which assigns a one-time-only password for each transaction.
According to JupiterResearch, when developing mobile strategies, banks should consider the availability of mobile technologies (SMS, mobile browsing and client application) as well as the characteristics of mobile interactions.
"Banks should not offer mobile services that aim to mirror or duplicate the online experience," adds JupiterResearch President David Schatsky. "Online banking brought consumers the convenience of banking anytime. Mobile banking can add an anywhere element, but banks should identify where such ubiquity is crucial." To no surprise, his company identifies younger consumers as potential early adopters of mobile-banking services. Other interested demographics include consumers who already use mobile browsing as well as "under-banked" consumers who might not be banking online.

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