The UK is lagging behind in the world when it comes to mobile banking, according to market analysts Datamonitor. While consumers in Africa, Asia, India and Russia have access to advanced mobile banking services, most UK customers have access only to text-based functions, it found.
That is not to say British consumers are crying out for banking services on their mobile phones. In fact, Datamonitor found that only 16% of UK customers consider mobile banking an “important” technology.
“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,” wrote Daoud Fakhri, an analyst at Datamonitor.
A market study by Accenture, meanwhile, showed why the banks themselves might encourage mobile banking.
“When banks enable their customers to use a mobile device to check balances, transfer money, pay bills, apply for credit or manage their personal finances, they can achieve returns on investment of as high as 300%,” the management consultancy claimed. One Middle Eastern bank surveyed achieved that 300% ROI by offering banking services through mobile phones, it said.
The company cited research from Berg Insight that predicts that the number of mobile banking customers in Europe will reach 115 million by 2015, more than 16 times the figure in 2009.
Banks may be poised to exploit mobile services, but they have yet to get to grips with social media, Datamonitor’s technology arm Ovum found in a separate study. Two thirds of the world’s retail banks have no plans to use social media in any way, it found.
“We feel that this attitude from retail banks towards social media is a major issue in an era of aggressive competition,” said Ovum analyst Martha Bennett.
“The banks without a social media strategy are being shortsighted and are placing themselves in a dangerous and vulnerable position compared to competitors who have realised that social media can and must play an intrinsic role in their business.”
One of the few retail banks to have adopted social media was the UK’s First Direct, the study found.