European Banks Play Catch Up With Mobile Banking

by Tristan Hugo-Webb 0

Compared with their counterparts in theUnited States and Asia, European banks in general have fallenbehind consumer demand for mobile banking services. But in thecoming years, experts predict broad deployment of mobile bankingopportunities for European bank customers will rapidlyincrease.

“It has taken a long time for European banks to realize thatmobile banking is important, compared to Asia and North America,where there is real innovation,” according to Daniel Mayo,financial services analyst at Ovum (a telecom and IT serviceadvisory firm).

In the U.S., customers of leading financial institutions are ableto conduct a host of different functions from basic account-balanceinquires and funds transfers, to more complex operations likepersonal financial management and remote deposit capture from one’ssmartphone. In Europe, customers are largely limited to basicbanking functions with smartphones, and some banks don’t even havemobile applications.

New mobile banking developments, however, are creating waves inthe European market. In the U.K. for example, Barclays launched themost innovate service available to mobile customers last year,called Pingit. Through the Pingit application, customers could makepayments to any U.K. bank with only the recipient’s telephonenumber required. The app was a huge success with more than 120,000people downloading it within five days of its release, encouragingBarclays to lower the age minimum to 16 and increasing the amountof money that could be sent.

Pingit’s success has encouraged the U.K.’s Payment Council toenable mobile transfers between all domestic accounts in the nearfuture. Furthermore, Chris Skinner, chairman at the FinancialServices Club (an international networking group for members of thefinancial industry) believes the mobile market in the UnitedKingdom is poised to move forward. “This is the year that UK bankswill truly move to mobile. Barclays led with Pingit, but this yearwill see a lot more from banks such as Lloyds banking Group andHSBC,” says Skinner.

Consumers, however, are not the only ones to gain from expandedmobile banking services. Financial institutions can gain as wellfrom the large amounts of potential data that can be collected.With the growing importance and effectiveness of big dataanalytics, the data collected from mobile banking transactions canassist banks in developing more tailored banking products for thefuture that will improve customer satisfaction overall. “At themoment there is a realization that big data is about your internaland external data and we are just starting to see the user casesemerging,” says Mayo. As banks begin to see real gains from bigdata collection and analysis, customers should begin to see a moretargeted approach with banking products and services.

Thus while mobile banking demand has largely gone unanswered in thepast, clear signs point to British and European banks in generalimproving their banking product portfolio with mobile bankingservices. By providing customers with improved mobile banking likethose in the U.S. and Asia enjoy, customers and financialinstitutions stand to benefit both in the present and movingforward. As the old adage goes, “better late than never,” and asmobile banking continues to grow significantly, European banks willbe in better position to capitalize on its popularity and potentialnew revenue streams.