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One in four smartphone owners using mobile banking services

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A quarter of UK mobile internet users now utilise mobile banking services, according to online consumer research by mobile web and app specialists Antenna. With the number of mobile-internet enabled handsets continuing to grow worldwide, banks that address the demand for both mobile apps and mobile web usage will have the sharpest competitive edge in the battle to attract new customers.

A separate study revealed that only four out of 14 high street banks surveyed offer a dedicated mobile banking app. This may explain why the YouGov research found that three times as many UK mobile internet users use mobile websites most frequently for mobile banking (15%) as opposed to apps (5%) with 6 per cent preferring to use both equally. This contrasts with the US, where banking apps and mobile websites are used almost equally by mobile internet users (13% and 16% respectively), with 8 per cent using them the same amount and the majority of banks offering dedicated mobile banking apps.

Interestingly, the Antenna research found that the demographic driving the widespread adoption of mobile banking in the UK is young people, with 30 per cent of 18-24 year old and 33 per cent of 25-34 year old mobile internet users utilising mobile banking to manage their money on the go –compared to 13 per cent of over 55s.

Antenna’s research also assessed the barriers to take-up, and found that 69 per cent of UK mobile internet users have security concerns about mobile banking services saying they would stop using the service if they felt their data was not secure. These concerns could account for the unpopularity of third-party banking apps, with only one per cent of respondents in the US, and less than one per cent of those polled in the UK admitting to preferring to use a banking app not provided by their own bank. Nonetheless, both findings suggest that banks who want their customers to use mobile banking must use the brand trust they’ve already built up with consumers if they want to continue to ‘own the channel’.

The report also found that the functions UK mobile internet users are already using, or would most like mobile banking solutions to offer, are checking their account balance (46%), viewing their transaction history (31%), and transferring money between their own accounts (27%). 25 per cent of respondents use, or would like to use, mobile banking to pay their bills, and 20 per cent to transfer money to third parties.

The report also suggests that the American market is currently more mature than its UK counterpart, with 40 per cent of US mobile internet users having used mobile banking compared to 25 per cent of UK mobile internet users. Other notable contrasts saw a much higher proportion of US consumers already using (or wishing to use) mobile banking services to find local branches or ATMs, with 36 per cent in the States, compared to 21 per cent in the UK.

“Mobile banking has now taken hold,” commented Jim Hemmer, CEO of Antenna. “The public clearly want to fit their banking chores around their lives and not their lives around their banking chores, and using their mobiles, they can. Banks need to acknowledge this by implementing holistic mobile banking strategies as soon as possible, and that means providing easy-to-use mobile web and apps across all device platforms.”

“Security remains the big issue for consumers, and that’s probably why they’re mostly using mobile banking services for basic tasks like checking their balances and finding ATMs. Banks need to start offering full mobile banking services which allow their customers to make deposits, balance transfers and the like as soon as possible, because it’s those banks which build up mobile trust in the short-term who are going to gain the most when m-commerce becomes commonplace.”

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