The majority of UK consumers will be using their mobile phone to manage their bank accounts and pay bills – which in turn will prompt them to make more purchases on mobile – within the next three years, according to new research into mobile banking and the changing nature of consumer trends by the Future Foundation think-tank, commissioned by Monitise.
The study reveals that the number of Britons who manage their money on their mobile has doubled in two years to almost 10% of the population today. This number will exceed 50% in the next few years as banks and retailers take advantage of the widespread adoption of smartphones, apps and 3G phone networks to deliver new services.
A major factor will also be the emergence of ‘tap-and-go’ payments using NFC, plus an increase in the range of Mobile Money services, such as person-to-person payments, location-based offers, shopping, transport, ticketing and entertainment.
The Future Foundation report, ‘Emerging Trends in Mobile Banking’, commissioned by Monitise surveyed 1000 adults and found that Britain’s growing army of mobile consumers like mobile banking and are doing it more and more, with 57% having used it more frequently in the past year than they did in the previous year. The study also uncovered that consumers prefer the convenience and ease of mobile banking to online banking, with 68% finding banking on the handset easier than over the internet.
What is interesting is that this embrace of mobile banking will spur on their use of mobile commerce, says the study. 70% of mobile bankers are very keen to use their mobile to buy things, the report predicts. It also highlights how consumers’ desire for ‘simple complexity’ – the ability to do complicated things easily and intuitively – will help shape the development of mobile banking. SMS, for example, appears increasingly clunky compared to a slick smartphone app.
This preference for the ‘simple complexity’ of mobile banking is borne out by the fact that many mobile money activities, including bill payments, balance transfers and checks, actually happen at home, despite the presence of a broadband-connected computer in the household.
The Future Foundation also found that while users of mobile banking interact with their bank more frequently than the general population, they are using their mobiles for an increasing proportion of those interactions – mainly at the expense of branch visits and call-centre banking.
Commenting on the research findings, Alastair Lukies, chief executive of Monitise, which provides mobile banking services to many of the UK’s high street banks and millions of people around the world, said: “This research gives a real insight into how quickly and completely Britons have made mobile banking a part of their everyday lives. The fact that more than half of Britons are expected to be using Mobile Money services in the next few years compared to one in 20 two years ago demonstrates an exceptional rate of growth.
“The driving forces are clear: people wanting to manage their money more closely; the arrival of the smartphone; and the development of 3G networks which transfer all the information required so quickly, plus the creation of new apps and services by banks and retailers.
“Mobile banking has truly come of age as people no longer see the ability to effectively manage their finances by mobile as a novelty or a ‘nice to have’ but increasingly as the norm.”