The growing usage among consumers of mobile banking apps bodes well for mobile payments becoming a mainstream payment option. Without a doubt, mobile banking apps are positioning banks to become a potential provider of mobile payments due to how relatively easily the mobile banking app’s functionality could be extended to include payments. But perhaps more importantly, is what these apps are doing to condition customers to not only use, but also trust their phones to initiate and execute financial transactions. After all, consumer uptake is often one of the biggest hurdles to any widespread adoption of a new payment tool, especially something as revolutionary as paying with a mobile device.
Almost all large banks, and many smaller ones, offer a range of basic functions on mobile banking apps, including the ability to check balances, view account history, make transfers between accounts or even remote deposit a check by capturing an image of the check with the mobile phone’s camera. Many banks also provide some form of alerts or account management functionality via SMS or have launched an application optimized for tablets. Banks also are now increasingly moving into person-to-person payments both online and through the mobile device that allow users to send and receive payments just by knowing the other person’s email or phone number. Mobile banking has the ability to help banks service its existing client base and woo new consumers all for less money. Banks across the globe are slowly shifting their fight from street-corner branches to mobile phones as this fast-growing channel becomes an integral part of their operational strategy. But beyond that, these services are conditioning consumers to rely on their mobile phones to send, receive and monitor their finances.
The mobile phone has the potential to not only be a disruptive force in the way that consumers interact with financial institutions via mobile banking apps, but also in the way that consumers shop and also pay for goods and services. Consumers are increasingly using phones for a variety of shopping activities from reading product reviews to comparison shopping while in the aisle or downloading a coupon on their mobile phone while at a POS terminal. Consumers show a definite willingness and interest to use mobile functionality to execute certain tasks when it has proven to be easy to use and add value to their life. As mobile become increasingly more mainstream and banking relationships become more digitized, it does seem that mobile banking is the natural transition to mobile payments
Acuity has a strong history of working with mobile payments companies, having secured the sale of YourWealth.co.uk and its Money Hub app technology to Momentum UK (consisting of Momentum Global Investment Management and MMI Holdings UK) which forms part of MMI Holdings Ltd (MMI), one of the largest financial services groups in South Africa. We look forward to working with and meeting companies from this exciting segment at the Mobile World Congress 2015.
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