THE BLOG
26/09/2013 10:04 BST | Updated 25/11/2013 05:12 GMT

The Future of Money Is Mobile

Over the past decade, mobiles have impacted nearly every aspect of our lives, both personal and professional. They've given life to today's 'always-on' world, by creating more flexible and personalised environments to work and play in. So much so that, according to Gartner, consumer spend on mobile technologies in 2012 accounted for almost half of all technology spend, adding up to a whopping £511bn.

Our use of mobile continues to evolve at lightning speed - not surprising when you remember the gadgets in our pockets are stratospherically more powerful than what was used for the Apollo 11 space mission. Having this kind of power available at our fingertips enables us to use our smartphones for a wide variety of transactions.

Mobile Money is a particularly exciting part of the mobile evolution. It's simplifying and speeding up the way we bank, pay and shop; opening infinitely more opportunities for people to manage their money around the clock at a time and place that suits them. Mobile offers a level of engagement and repeat usage that a branch, ATM, the web and many other channels just can't match. This is exciting stuff for those in the business of mobile commerce - the browsing, buying and selling of products and services on mobiles. There's a growing audience of captive and connected consumers to engage with.

Banks Leading the Way

We recently conducted a study into what consumers really want from banks in relation to mcommerce. It highlighted that banks have a central role to play. With their legacy as trusted guardians of our money, banks are in prime position to help us get the most out of Mobile Money.

Many of us put a lifetime of trust in our banks and it's clear that this extends beyond the traditional customer-bank relationship as we knew it. Our study revealed that the majority of European smartphone users would feel more confident buying goods and services by mobile if they could use approved apps provided by their banks.

It's not just about any old mobile service or app being pushed out by your bank though. Consumers often know what they want, so banks need to deliver according to demand. Our research showed ease-of-use, direct banking insights and the state of personal finance and budgets were the leading factors most likely to prompt European consumers to buy products and services via a banking app. Security and confidence factors also came out on top, with security of the transaction and security of the handset among the key variables that would encourage consumers to buy via their smartphone.

The Family Money Tree

With the right level of planning and a thorough understanding of their customers, there's nothing stopping banks from offering simple, compelling, engaging and intuitive services. Not only will this enable them to interact more with existing customers, but they'll attract new ones based on what they can offer us. But what about the consumer? How will the mainstream adoption of mcommerce and Mobile Money innovation play out in our everyday lives?

One example is the transfer of money within the family unit. Whether you call it pocket money, family savings or 'the bank of Mum and Dad', the concept of moving money around families has largely remained the same for years. It's the way we channel and transfer these funds that has changed. According to our research, a third of smartphone users are already transferring funds to family members through their mobile.

Money transfer via mobile is a leading use case for mcommerce and it looks set to sky-rocket, with a report from Yankee Group predicting that we'll see UK mobile person-to-person payments reach 26.1 million transactions this year, and nearly triple to 77.4 million by 2016. The wider availability of mobile services and devices, along with lower transaction costs, are clearly enabling us to transact more frequently.

Collaboration and Connectivity

Of course, each and every one of us is different and has our own personal preferences for how we move our money around. There's no 'one-size-fits-all' silver bullet service. The key to success is for banks, retailers and mobile providers to work together. By joining forces and creating seamless and compelling new experiences, consumers will be empowered to live life and do business the way they want. It's about creating a tighter lifecycle for Mobile Money, with notifications, rewards, and secure experiences that move people further down the purchasing pipeline, enabling a more convenient way to spend, shop, transfer funds and pay bills.

Our research revealed that 50% of smartphone users are already buying goods on their smartphones. It's clear the revolution has already happened when it comes to Mobile Money, but if we're going to sway the other half; we need more solutions and partnerships based on trust, safety and a positive consumer user experience.