Mobile banking counts on apps for growth

Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:57pm EST
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By S. John Tilak - Analysis

BANGALORE (Reuters) - Want to transfer money on the move? There's an app for that. As the popular Apple Inc advertisement goes, more Americans are discovering the benefits of mobile banking and the applications that facilitate it.

The rising popularity of applications, the proliferation of smartphones and greater familiarity with text messaging are driving the use of banking services on mobile phones.

As smaller banks follow large banks in offering mobile banking services, this year will see a further acceleration of growth.

"Applications are seeing tremendous adoption," said Kay Nichols, executive vice president of FIS Channel Solutions, a unit of electronic payment processor Fidelity National Information Services Inc.

"Part of the adoption growth is tied to a combination of heavily subsidized handsets and lower 'all you can eat' data plans from mobile network operators."

"It's clear the American mobile phone subscriber is beginning to expect more from their phones," Nichols added.

People use applications to look up bank balances, view transaction history and locate a branch or ATM. Apple's iPhone, Research In Motion's BlackBerry and Google's Android-based phones have been the top destinations for applications.

"The most popular bank applications for the iPhone are from Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Wells Fargo," said Red Gillen, a senior analyst at research and consulting firm Celent.   Continued...