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Banks hold key to mobile financial services in developed markets

12 ноября 2009

Banks, not mobile operators, are pivotal to the rollout and mainstream uptake of mobile financial services in developed markets like the U.K., according to mobile banking platform provider Fundamo.

"There is no technical reason why consumers in developed markets can't get mobile financial services. It is up to the banks," said Aletha Ling, chief business development officer and executive director at Fundamo.

"It will only take one bank to do it, and do it well, for it to be successful," she commented to Total Telecom in London on Tuesday.

Ling explained that mobile operators have tended to drive the rollout of mobile financial services in emerging markets where the majority of the population is unbanked and there is little or no banking infrastructure, but mobile phone uptake is already strong.

"Mobile operators have well-respected brands that people are willing to buy into in these markets, plus they have strategic needs of their own," she said.

Mobile financial services are a way for operators to boost ARPU and customer loyalty, said Ling.

"Banks also want to expand their market share into these areas... but today we still believe that mobile operators have been the catalyst in emerging markets," she said.

Ling expressed her frustration at the lack of a significant drive towards mainstream mobile banking services in developed markets, particularly the U.K.

"I don't understand why it has not taken off," she said.

"This is something we are sure that consumers want; mobile handsets are becoming such an aggregator of services anyway – mobile banking is one more service," she added.

However, Ling said more banks are beginning to take an interest in mobile financial services.

"I would say the tipping points will come in emerging markets and mature markets in the next three to five years," she said.

However, she warned that the mobile industry will need to be prepared to cope with the expected surge in uptake.

"In mobile things either die or grow very fast - mobile financial services are on the brink of a massive take-off and the industry better be ready for it."

Fundamo's product manager Richard Bailey stressed that "technology should not inhibit the growth of mobile services."

He commented that open platforms are needed to enable mobile banking providers to offer new services as and when they emerge in partnership with any number of institutions.

"Some services in the past took off in an earlier technology phase which can stifle innovation later on because they are stuck working with out-of-date platforms," he said.

Источник: Total Telecom

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