Mobile banking adoption is accelerating at a pace few bankers could have imagined when the channel emerged as a viable platform in the mid-2000s.
Juniper Research estimates that by 2017 more than 1 billion mobile phone users will have used their mobile devices for banking purposes, compared with slightly more than 590 million users this year. As with any positive development, however, there are some potential downsides to this fantastic growth. Will banks be able to profit from the growth of mobile banking, or will it become a commoditized loss leader? Are the much-discussed security risks going to become reality as the channel grows in prominence? Could mobile banking's success morph into a means of bank disintermediation as more-nimble and less-regulated technology players offer mobile-based financial products to fickle consumers? Will the regulators involve themselves in mobile financial services in a way that impedes growth and pressures profitability?
It is exactly because mobile banking adoption is growing so rapidly that bankers must grapple with these questions while simultaneously positioning themselves for whatever comes next for this channel. They can't simply upgrade existing mobile banking offerings -- the typical approach taken with traditional banking products, branches and even online banking. Mobile isn't just a delivery channel. Coupled with the broader trend of IT consumerization, it's transforming how business is conducted and how growth strategies must be developed.
Where To Focus
This topic suggests a host of additional mobile-related questions that bankers must consider, including:
-- What will it take for corporate mobile banking to become more widely embraced, and how will it be different from consumer mobile banking?
-- Who will lead the growth of mobile payments in the U.S. market, and what role will banks play in this growth?
-- Will the popularity of mobile banking lead to development of telematics and "smart device" implementations in banking?
-- Do banks have an effective way of leveraging the information available to them via the mobile channel to enhance their big data and analytics efforts?
-- Who are the new and emerging competitors in mobile financial services, and how should banks respond to them -- fight, challenge or adopt their best practices?
-- Are there new markets and customer segments on which banks can capitalize with a mobile delivery strategy?
The banks that have answers to these questions will be the leaders of mobile banking's future.
Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio