Mobile banking- not important to UK consumers – yet

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Research by independent market analyst Datamonitor, has revealed that whilst consumers in markets like Africa, Asia, India and Russia have access to advanced mobile banking services, most UK consumers only have access to basic text-based functions like checking balances. As a result UK consumers don’t yet see the importance of the technology.

Daoud Fakhri, analyst at Datamonitor says: ‘Although we predict that mobile banking will overtake online banking in the future, only 16% of UK consumers currently think it’s important. However, we expect that this will change rapidly once the technology becomes more sophisticated and we’ll see adoption increasing at a far quicker rate than it did in the case of online.

‘The key reason for this is that mobile banking has the potential to be far more convenient than online, so if banks are able to offer the same or similar functionality to online, consumers are likely to start to use mobile banking.’

Mobile banking is more sophisticated in many developing countries because of the lack of robust infrastructure. For example it can be difficult for consumers to get to bank branches and access computers. Mobiles are therefore the easiest way to communicate with banks, creating high levels of demand. In fact 60% of consumers in Brazil feel that the technology is important making the development of mobile banking a priority for banks.

However Datamonitor believes that the technology will become increasingly important for UK consumers. Not only will mobile banking increase convenience for consumers but it will also offer banks increased opportunities to engage with their customers by enhancing the customer experience, therefore cementing brand loyalty. For example ING Bank in the Netherlands offers an interactive ATM finder as a downloadable mobile application. Although not an essential service, applications like this will help banks to improve their relationship with their customers by making their lives easier.

Fakhri concludes: ‘Although UK banks will start to catch up with other markets in the coming years, they will need to ensure that they’re able to get the basics right and provide seamless day-to-day services before consumers can be convinced that it is an important feature.’