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20% of European online shoppers already use mobile payments, finds Forrester…

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One-fifth of Western European internet users use mobile banking today, according to a new Forrester report based on more than 13,600 consumer surveys. SMS alerts are still the most popular form of mobile banking in most countries, but use of mobile banking apps is growing fastest.

As mobile Internet use explodes and mobile banking is displacing use of other channels, Forrester believes that ubiquitous mobile banking will mark a bigger strategic shift for the industry than home-based online banking. Banks need mobile banking to provide a platform for mobile payments and to protect their retail payments businesses from digital disruption.

The report finds that consumers are most likely to use mobile banking to check balances, review transactions and transfer money between their accounts. Mobile banking app users are the biggest users of mobile transfers, with 36% of them using their mobile app to transfer money between their accounts in the past three months and 24% sending money to their friends or family. 

SMS alerts are the most commonly used type of mobile banking in Europe: 14% of European Net users with mobile phones used them in 2011, compared with 13% in 2010. SMS alerts are particularly popular in Spain and Italy.

Some 9% of users access mobile banking websites, whether their bank has optimized its site or not. Adoption is particularly high in Spain and Sweden, where banks like Bankinter, la Caixa, and SEB are among the leaders in developing mobile banking.

Only 5% use apps to manage mobile banking in Europe. Mobile banking apps are most popular in Sweden and France, where 14% and 8% of online adults with a mobile phone, respectively, use a mobile app to access their accounts. In the UK, however, adoption is only at 2%, mainly because UK banks were slow to offer mobile banking apps. In Germany mobile banking app adoption is 3%.

“The longer we spend researching mobile banking, the more convinced I become that mobile banking is the most important innovation, or cluster of innovations, in retail banking in years, arguably in a century,” explains Benjamin Ensor author of the new research which provides a detailed analysis of banking functionality offered by European banks and how customers are using mobile banking today.

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