Mobile financial services are of three kinds: mobile banking (essentially a mobile form of online banking), mobile domestic person to person payments, and international person to person payments.
While mobile banking services are likely to find their greatest market in the industrialised world, mobile domestic and international person to person payments may be game-changing developments in less prosperous regions, enabling commerce, extending services to rural regions, and possibly even helping people previously excluded from the financial system to lift themselves out of poverty.
ABI senior analyst, Mark Beccue, stated: “Mobile financial services have the potential to be bigger than mobile TV and premium mobile content in terms of numbers of subscribers They have the broadest demographic appeal; almost anybody over the age of 18 is a potential user.”
The major promoters of this market, according to Beccue, will be banking institutions. “Every bank in the world is considering these options,” he says. “It’s a huge growth area. It allows banks to increase customer stickiness, to cut costs and automate, and most importantly, to reach the unbanked. They are scrambling for ways to do it.”
Moreover this market is largely recession-proof because with few exceptions it’s not about consumers spending their money, but managing it.
When it comes to mobile banking, Bank of America launched its mobile banking services in May 2007 and by June of the following year already had a million mobile banking customers. Currently the service covers about 1.5 million subscribers.