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Financial Insights predicts more convergence in Asia-Pacific mobile banking

As a part of our coverage on mobile banking, we are publishing a summary of a review from Financial Insights called Mobile Banking and Beyond. Increased convergence in the Asia-Pacific Internet and mobile banking channels is expected in the next 12 months.

IDC company Financial Insights believes that the move towards the convergence of Internet and mobile banking, two previously separate channels, will impact not only how channel strategies are crafted in institutions but also overall customer engagement approaches.

The company's latest report Mobile Banking and Beyond discusses the most innovative and impressive mobile banking solutions deployed in Asia-Pacific by OCBC Bank in Singapore, ANZ Bank in Australia and Kasikornbank in Thailand. It also presents views of how m-banking will evolve in the region in the near future.

As our own report (How can mobile money help the emerging markets?) reveals, m-banking has faced its fair share of hurdles since its inception. Presently, Asia-Pacific's banks and telecoms providers are struggling to find the most appropriate business model to balance the revenue requirements of the many parties involved in the value chain against the needs and expectations of consumers. In addition, the varying levels of mobile phone technology and telecoms infrastructure across the region make it extremely difficult to deploy one effective mobile financial solution for all countries.

Abhishek Kumar, Senior Research Analyst, Asia-Pacific Banking Advisory Service notes, "Mobile banking and payments have been flourishing in Asia-Pacific for several years. In previous reports, Financial Insights stated that mobile banking will become a common banking channel in Asia/Pacific, and 2009 has strengthened this belief with innovative mobile solutions being deployed across the region."

Some of the emerging trends being witnessed in mobile banking in Asia/Pacific are:      

  • in the past, mobile banking and payments were driven by telecoms players. Now, banks are taking the lead in deploying such services. This is not to say that telcos have been cut out of the mobile banking proposition. Rather, banks are now partnering with telcos and other IT vendors to deploy such solutions on a more equal footing;

  • currently, mobile banking deployment differs significantly between developed and developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Financial institutions in the region's mature markets are seeking to converge Internet and mobile banking channels, whereas those in developing markets are looking to grow customer bases by focusing on the unbanked; and

  • newer and more innovative mobile banking solutions are being implemented. This has resulted in mobile banking services moving beyond being just an extension of current financial services delivered via a mobile device. By fully integrating mobile solutions with the banks' core systems, these solutions now provide more value-added services not only to the customers but also to the bank itself.

Kumar concludes, "Ultimately, with the progression of mobile technology and financial services, Financial Insights believes that most Asia-Pacific financial institutions will seek to converge the Internet and mobile channels in the hopes of truly making financial services available to customers anywhere and at any time. The customer will no longer have to go to the bank because the bank will be in their pockets."

* Financial Insights (HQ in Framingham, Massachusetts, USA) provides independent research, custom consulting, and detailed multi-client studies on the technology issues and challenges facing the financial services industry. Its global research covers topics of strategic importance to corporate and retail banks, insurance carriers, and asset management, securities, and brokerage firms. Local practices in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Canada add regional input.

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