By Dilip Mistry
Mobile banking is big business. Users are set to exceed 1 billion by 2017, up from 590 million last year, a 15% representation of global subscribers. The end of this month signalled the release of Paym (more on that later), the Banking and Finance industries’ simple transfer tool that removes the need for account numbers and sort codes and allows payments using just a mobile phone number. The aim of the app is to facilitate payments between friends, for purposes such as settling a restaurant or fuel bill. Soon we will also see the release of Zapp, the new app that links up with other banking apps to allow customers to pay for goods or services in shops or online, whilst giving consumers up-to date information on their bank balances.
The recent Buzz City Report (April 14) reported that 26% of mobile phone users of all ages are using them for banking and financial transactions and a further 16% have considered it. 31% find mobile banking easy and useful, up from 26% last year. What is stopping the 16% and more from using their mobile phones for financial transactions? From the results of the report there are three main barriers: fear, suitability and awareness. 19% will not mobile bank for fear of security issues, 30% felt they did not have a suitable device and 29% stated that they did not yet have the services available to use. Even in the group of people who are aware of mobile banking apps, less than half were using the service. 20% of those surveyed said they were worried about the security and privacy of mobile banking. Of the people that are using mobile banking services, 30% are using it for balance enquires, 26% for bank transfers and 28% for cash withdrawals. The self-serve element is what makes these services the top three features of mobile banking and drives the increasing percentage of users to access these services.
Providing banks can publicise their mobile banking offering to customers and bring services to an increasing range of mobile devices, the only issue hindering users is a fear of security threats. While undoubtedly there have been and still are threats to mobile banking services, these threats are being drastically reduced by the vigilance of users and banks alike. Over the next few weeks Fraud For Thought will run a series discussing some of the recent security issues faced by the mobile banking community and the steps you can take to decrease the likelihood of becoming a victim of mobile banking fraud.