According to a new research report by Berg Insight, the worldwide number of users of mobile banking and related services is forecasted to grow from 20 million users in 2008 at a compound annual growth rate of 89% to reach 913 million users in 2014.
Asia-Pacific is expected to become the most important regional market, accounting for 65% of the total user base. Mobile banking is also anticipated to play a key role in bringing financial services to people in the Middle East and Africa. In Europe and North America, the technology will mainly serve as an extension of existing online banks as mobile handsets become more widely used for internet access. By 2014, Berg Insight forecasts that mobile banking will attract 110 million users in Europe and 80 million users in North America.
Marcus Persson, telecom analyst at Berg Insight, said: “Mobile handsets are in an excellent position to become the primary digital channel for providers of banking and related financial services on emerging markets. People who sign up for their first mobile subscription today will likely open their first bank account in the coming years and thus join the modern financial system. Mobile operators can play a vital role in this development and will have the opportunity to take an active part in the creation of some of tomorrow’s most important financial institutions based in Asia and Africa.”
Besides traditional retail banking, the report also identifies international money transfer as a potential revenue source for mobile industry players. Berg Insight forecasts that 5 to 20% of the international money transfers currently handled by various formal or informal agent networks will be carried out using a mobile handset by 2014, generating $170 million to $680 million in service revenues.