Now's an exciting time to be the bank executives charged with rolling out mobile banking. As industry fortunes rebound, funding is suddenly available at many financial institutions, and consumers' ever-increasing use of their ever-more-sophisticated mobile devices put institutions in the enviable position of rolling out technology just as consumers are ready to embrace it, as opposed to inventing tools and trying to motivate adoption.
"All the banks I've spoken too say their adoption numbers have exceeded expectations," says Celent analyst Red Gillen, and that's without major marketing initiatives.
Some stats: 67 percent of Americans say they 'like to be contactable at all times', 69 percent report they use SMS, 39 percent are they're interested in mobile banking, and 32 percent say they'd change banks to take advantage of free mobile banking, according to recent research by mobile banking vendor Sybase 365.
As impressive as these numbers are, it's well known that American consumers' interest in and adoption of the wide range of mobile services theoretically available in the market lags when compared to Europe and Asia. That's not really a surprise, though. Consumers can't use what's not actually available, and American banks and other payments players haven't aggressively rolled out or marketed the newest mobile technologies.
Now's the time. For American banks, the macro trends of increasing consumer mobility means it's time for banks to emphasize speed of deployment over long deliberations about finding the perfect solution, says Bob Hedges, managing partner at financial services consulting firm Mercatus, adding, "What's going on in the marketplace is a gold rush for relevance in the mobile space."