The battle for territory between cards and mobile

BuzzCity has revealed a 60% increase in the amount of people that use their mobile devices to bank online.

Even more startlingly, mobile payments have overtaken card payments globally with 24% usually using mobile payments compared to 17% globally using credit cards and 12% using debit cards. Patrick Brusnahan reports

The increased sales and adoption of mobile phones across the world has, unsurprisingly, had an effect on mobile banking usage. The surprise was just how much of a difference it has made.

According to BuzzCity’s, a mobile advertising network, ongoing global research, almost half (42%) of all mobile users are now frequently making payments through mobile devices. This is up from 26% in 2013, a growth of 60%. In addition, 32% of those not transacting yet via mobiles are planning to do so.

Dr K.F. Lai, chief executive of BuzzCity, speaking to RBI, says: “It’s fair to say that the amount of mobile banking transactions has increased from 2013 to 2015 and in some markets, mobile payments have overtaken the credit card and prepaid card markets.

“The reason for this growth is education and smartphone penetration has increased in many markets. Obviously, with smartphones, even the very affordable ones, functionality begins to support mobile banking activities. There’s still a lot of room to grow, but so far the growth has been significant.”

However, over one third (35%) of mobile users are yet to use their mobile for online transactions.

In addition, 26% of respondents were concerned about security on their smartphone, not deeming it at a high enough level to use mobile banking.

23% claimed that their mobile were not suitable. This is strange as all mobile phones are capable of mobile banking in one form or another.

This might be down to consumer awareness. 15% believes that banking facilities are not available to them on their phones, but 90% of banks provide some form of mobile banking service, whether that be via SMS, mobile sites or applications.

Lai says: “Awareness needs to be improved. A lot of people still do not know about mobile banking services so the bank needs to promote them in the right channels. It’s no longer a question if mobile banking will penetrate more, it definitely will. It’s more down to the individual banks. Some banks will lead the pack and some will fall behind.”

While it predicts mobile banking to spread to all account holders by 2017, the report also states: “If uptake remains at the current rate, we can expect practically all mobile users to transact with their mobiles in the next year.”

While this growth is impressive, cash still remains far-and-away the preferred method with 64% of the 3,300 respondents stating that cash was their most likely method of payment.

Lai concludes: “Banks need to pull up their socks and do their job in promoting innovative services. That doesn’t seem impossible, but some markets will do that much quicker than others.”