Will i-mode save Mobile Banking in Western Europe?
According to a recent report by Celent, there are currently about 5 million users of mobile financial services in Europe. Recently, i-mode services have been imported from Japan, and a number of banks are offering i-mode services now, hoping that it will lead to more rapid growth in terms of usage.
After the failure of WAP-based mobile financial services in 2001, new hopes for mobile banking in Europe have been awakened by a Japanese import, i-mode. A handful of banks in Western Europe have deployed mobile banking services using the Japanese i-mode standard.
However, according to Octavio Marenzi, author of the report, "there is little demand for interactive banking services via WAP or i-mode in Western Europe. However, there has been rapid growth in the use of text messages or SMS messages. We expect that future growth will continue to be driven by SMS alerts, rather than more sophisticated interactive services."
According to the study, wide variances exist between countries in Europe, with mobile banking playing a virtually non-existent role in many countries. The rather unexpected leader in terms of mobile banking penetration is the French market, which accounts for almost 40% of all mobile banking users in Western Europe.
The report analyzes and compares the mobile banking offerings of the top twenty-five banks in Western Europe, compares the state of play in the major countries within Europe, examines the role of WAP, i-mode and SMS and make recommendations to banks regarding future mobile strategies.