Mobile banking overtakes phone banking in the UK and US

mBlox, the mobile transaction network, has released the results of consumer research that found mobile banking to have gained a foothold in the US and UK markets.

Surpassing both branch and telephone banking in terms of popularity, the survey found that 25% of US mobile phone users and 37% of UK mobile phone users have adopted mobile banking services.

When asked which banking method users preferred, respondents found mobile banking more convenient and easier to use than telephone banking (voice and touchtone) by a margin of three to one in the US and by a 1% margin in the UK.

Conversely, when asked about branch banking, fewer respondents selected it as their favourite method of banking, with only 2% in the US and 3% in the UK choosing it as their preferred method.

Research revealed that the greatest benefits of mobile banking for consumers (52% in the US and 46% in the UK) are the ability to “access banking services anywhere, at any time,” as well as “convenience” and “time saving”.

“It’s clear from the findings of this survey that consumer behaviour is shifting to adopt the capabilities afforded by mobile banking,” said Andrew Dark, CEO, mBlox. “We are seeing strong interest in the mobile sector from a wide variety of industries including transportation, retail, marketing and entertainment, which shows there is an opportunity for financial services to benefit from this increasingly popular channel.”

The research also identified the services consumers are most interested in using on their mobile phones. In both countries, respondents rated as their top four services: daily balance notifications; suspicious activity notifications; fraud alert notifications; and low balance, overdraft, and credit limit notifications. US respondents also cited as a key service the ability to transfer funds between accounts, while UK respondents favoured the ability to view statements and transaction history.

Said Soren Bested, managing director of Monitise Americas, an mBlox partner providing mobile banking and payment services to North American financial institutions: “Consumers today want real time, round the clock access to their finances and are demanding a higher level of convenience for managing such information. It’s no surprise that the ‘anywhere, anytime’ aspect of mobile banking was one of the greatest benefits found in the mBlox research, and we see SMS as a key ingredient in providing that convenience factor.

“Whether it be requesting an account balance or receiving a text alert notifying consumers of activity on their account, SMS provides a method of financial control. We’re delighted to partner with mBlox to deliver high quality, reliable, and secure mobile messaging to our customers,” Bested added.

The research highlighted two factors, however, that may be slowing down the growth of mobile banking services. These top two reservations were identified by respondents as security (33% in the US and 49% in the UK) and cost (31% in both the US and UK).