A Peek At The 24-Month Horizon For Mobile Banking Whistles & Bells

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13 September 2010
I'm in the process of conducting "refresh" mobile banking vendor analysis, using Celent's ABCD Vendor View methodology -- our last mobile banking vendor report was in 2007. As part of the research process, Celent analysts spend time not only talking with the vendors themselves, but also with their clients. One of the most interesting conversation topics has been about product/functionality roadmaps; the kinds of front-end mobile banking functionality that vendors and FIs plan to have in place over the course of the next 18 - 24 months. As would be expected, there is much talk about P2P payments, remote deposit capture and mobile proximity (aka NFC) payments. By talking to vendors & FIs, I get the impression that while the former two will gradually become "table stakes", FIs aren't expecting them to revolutionize banking (and there does seem to be a lot of feet-dragging about P2P within the FI community). Vendors and FIs are holding out hope for NFC (although there has been little articulation about why...), but fuzzy timelines are preventing most from investing significant resources. Aside from these three front-end functionalities being planned for the next 24 months, here are some innovative "whistles & bells" that I've come across from discussions with numerous vendors and FIs:
  • Enhanced reality: pointing a phone's camera at a branch or ATM, to know hours, services offered, special promotions, etc.
  • More prepaid card functionality: i.e., enhanced mobile banking for underserved, non-banked prepaid cardholders
  • iGoogle/My Yahoo-type end user customization of mobile web pages
  • Scanning of receipts: Taking a page from the mRDC playbook, use of mobile phone's cameras to scan shopping receipts for PFM usage
  • Location-based couponing: Sending of product coupons to a FI customer's phone when in a retail store (or even within a department in the store)
  • Branch greeters armed with iPads: Use of mobile technology to process banking needs of customers lined up in the branch -- mRDC, bank officer appointment schedule, general Q&A.
Of course, it remains to be seen how much of this functionality will actually roll out. Although none of these features will revolutionize mobile banking in their own right, it is fascinating to see how far mobile banking has progressed from just three years ago, when text banking was considered cutting-edge front-end technology.

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