Do believe the hype: Mobile continues its advance

23 February 2012

A raft of recent mobile technology announcements, from RBS’ new business banking app; to Telefonica Digital and Sybase’s m-wallet, aping Google’s virtual wallet launch last year; through to Barclays Pingit app allowing retail bank customers to send money with just mobile phone numbers, all show that the mobile financial services space is continuing to hot up. As Public Enemy’s Chuck D said way ‘back in the day’ do believe the hype because when it comes to mobile FS the technology is at last catching up with the concept, after previous false starts with the likes of SIM Pay and other failed initiatives.

Other recent mobile FS launches include Movida’s mobile payments service in India, through to La Caixa and Samsung’s smart TV banking app – proving that mobile these days covers many different devices including everything from your remote control to your tablet, not just your smartphone.

Perhaps the most important announcement in recent weeks, however, was from the Mobey Forum industry association when it released its second white paper on mobile wallets in an attempt to encourage widespread adoption and define the competitive space for various stakeholders from banks, to card schemes, merchants and Mobile Network Operators. The Mobey Forum Control Points in Mobile Wallets whitepaper details how to establish connections, customer acquisitions procedures and who ‘owns’ the data, among much else, outlining the ecosystem that may come into existence.

The scramble to grab a profitable slice of the growing m-wallet space is most definitely on, but it is collaborative efforts such as this whitepaper and the ground rules being laid down by the likes of the European Payments Council among others, which will really kick-start the mobile FS market in all its various guises, from retail to commercial banking apps, to loyalty and NFC schemes and so forth. The ground is starting to shift, and while proprietary launches are definitely pushing the market forward more collaboration will still be needed to get everyone using the ‘mobile bank’ in your pocket and not just tech-savvy youngsters. The hype will continue for some time to come but this time there is substance behind it. Do believe the hype.

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