M-banking take-up exceeds expectations

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Research conducted by Sybase shows that demand for m-banking services has exceeded expert expectations. The online research was conducted in 16 countries and completed by more than 4,100 mobile users, carried out by UK-based Loudhouse Research.

It found 30% of mobile users use m-banking services, compared to the 16% prediction, and 24% access m-banking on at least a weekly basis. The research finds a changed market from that surveyed in 2007, with consumers showing a greatly increased appetite for mobile services.

The main findings show how mobile phones have evolved from being simple communication devices to becoming life management tools, entertainment systems and virtual wallets. Almost half of all mobile users use their handset to access the internet (48%) on a weekly basis, and 30%, globally, use m-banking services. A further 70% of users have a real appetite for extra mobile services, including more m-banking (39%).

In particular, European m-banking has more than doubled in the past 18 months, while the most used services everywhere surveyed is to check their accounts (88%) and receiving transaction updates (54%). Some 56% had paid a bill or card payment via their mobile, 35% of those using m-banking services said they would pay for more sophisticated services, whilst 44% would consider swapping banks for free m-banking.

Three-quarters of users said they would like to receive warnings of potentially fraudulent behaviour, 69% are interested in balance enquiries and 65% would like to be able to freeze a card.

Some 59% are interested in making transactions, such as paying a bill or a card from their mobile, and a third of respondents are interested in paying for goods and services using their mobile.

There is a willingness to pay for such convenience, especially for entertainment and utilities services.

Some 27% of respondents would like to send money overseas, although the research shows a huge range in the sum of money that individuals would consider sending via their mobile. The median amount sent via mobile phones is £18, whilst 3% of respondents would be prepared to send more than £500.

Regional differences

The Asian appetite for new services is the keenest: users are more engaged with their mobiles than respondents in other countries. Some 20% more Asian respondents are interested in additional services than the global average, and approximately 30% more Asian than European respondents are interested in mobile community updates (50% to 18%) and m-banking (54% to 26%).

EMEA users show huge engagement with their mobiles and are using technologically advanced features: 40% access the internet via their mobile on a weekly basis, and almost the same number send or receive email from their phone. They also show a great interest in new services, with at least a third willing to pay for each service.

39% of users in the Americas like to deal with finances on the go. They are engaging with their mobiles and are willing to pay for content. They do, however, show lower than average interest in the idea of m-banking (39% against the world average of 44%).

Matthew Talbot, VP, m-commerce, Sybase 365 says, ‘The challenge for businesses in 2010 will be to adapt their mobile offerings to meet this increased demand, and find ways to target their services at specific segments of their customer base