There’s a digital revolution going on in banking, with our mobile phones and tablets at the core. Have you enthusiastically thrown yourself into mobile banking, or are you still cautious?
At a recent conference about the future of mobile banking, I was surrounded by people on their iPhones, Blackberrys and iPads. The consensus seemed to be that all of our money management will be conducted on our phones before long.
The case for embracing mobile banking seems compelling, with banks, card issuers, network providers and retailers all wanting to get involved. One presenter shared the slightly disturbing fact that there are now 6.6bn mobile phone contracts worldwide, while only 4bn people have a toothbrush.
But our own research shows that, for the moment, people are reluctant to embrace mobile banking – at least until perceived security concerns have been ironed out.
Reluctance to start mobile banking
More than 80% of Which? members say they’re worried that this technology will leave them at a greater risk of fraud. Commenter William told us on our Conversation about Barclays’ mobile payment app Pingit:
‘I for one won’t be making use it and will eagerly await the first news story of how people mysteriously lose up to £300 a time all because banks and phone companies have no idea of what security is.’
Why the reluctance? It may be that we’re ‘slow adopters’ compared to the US, or even countries such as Kenya, where there are already 17m mobile banking accounts that allow people to transfer money to each other by simply sending a text. In the UK, similar services – such as Barclays’ Pingit and the O2 Wallet – are only just launching.
We recently tested all of the mobile banking services that are out there at the moment, and found that they really are a mixed bag. Barclays and First Direct’s mobile apps did well, but the options from HSBC and Santander were more difficult to use.
Still, as more of us arm ourselves with smartphones, there’s a real incentive for banks to finesse their services and make mobile banking simpler than ever. An attitude shift from potential users and technological advances should see mobile banking really get going.