Mobile Marketing Association –  http://mmaglobal.com/articles/mobile-opportunities-financial-sector-americas

by Diarmiud Mallon

Throughout 2007, Sybase 365 conducted mobile banking surveys of consumers across three regions: the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. The survey was conducted by Loudhouse Research, an independent research company based in the UK.
A wide range of mobile users were surveyed in each country. Questions ranged from whether those surveyed had used mobile banking and frequency, if they knew whether or not their bank offered mobile services, whether they would switch banks to gain access to mobile banking, and what types of services they have used via mbanking.
Mobile users in the Americas—specifically the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina—showed a keen eye for their personal finances—42% claim to know exactly how much money they have in the bank. Argentineans are the most on the ball when it comes to the state of their finances )54% claim to know their exact bank balance), although they are also the most likely to have no idea, demonstrating an “all or nothing” approach.
Such strong financial insight was achieved by regular checking of their bank balances. Americans and Brazilians are the most likely to check their bank balances daily, while Canadians prefer to check their balance every few days.
These two trends—closely watching personal finances and interacting regularly with a financial institution—clearly point to the positive impact mobile banking services could have on these markets. Basic services that can be offered include “push” SMS bank account balance alerts and bank balance inquiries. Capitalizing on this “nano-economic” mindset will enable banks in the Americas to launch services that will greatly appeal to their customers.
One consistent result across all three of our global mobile banking surveys )Europe, Asia- Pacific, and the Americas) is the need for raising awareness of mobile banking services among consumers. More than half surveyed did not know whether their bank offered mobile banking services or not, and only 13% were able to categorically state that their bank does not offer mobile banking. Awareness of their bank’s mobile banking services was the highest in Brazil )56%), and was the lowest in the U.S. and Mexico. In Canada, almost three quarters did not know if their bank offered the service or not.
Banks that have launched mobile banking services, or are planning to do so, must first focus on educating their customers about the many benefits of mobile—over and above the benefits of current banking channels, such as the Internet or visiting a local branch.
For banks, selecting new services to launch is vital to building interest in the mobile channel. More than 6 in 10 mobile users said they would be interested in being able to access account balances via their mobile. Security safeguards )transaction alerts, blocking a card) are the second tier of popular offerings, followed by account alerts. Over 25% of those polled said they would be interested in the transaction side of mobile banking and would like to make payments via their mobile.
Carefully selecting services that address consumers’ current needs will enable banks to build momentum in the mobile channel, and to reach the critical mass of customers that is required to make the service successful. Once completed, the more niche services—such as making mobile payments—will find wider adoption rates.
Finally, there is potential for converting interest in services into a willingness to pay. Respondents in the Americas survey were more willing to pay for mobile services than were their European counterparts. Money transfer services are particularly ripe for paid service, followed by making payments to existing payees. Security services are another area where almost 50% of potential users were prepared to pay. There is strong resistance to paying for informational or marketing services, generally, with stock market information being the exception.
If you would like to find out more about the Americas, Europe, or Asia-Pacific survey results, please go to http://www.sybase.com/365. Then, in the lower right corner, click the “Mbanking Survey” medallion, and download the survey of your choice.
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