Mobile Banking Use To Hit 200 Million

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The use of mobile devices to carry out banking transactions is booming, Juniper Research has found, in spite of continuing security concerns

Mobile banking is set to boom over the next few years in spite of ongoing security concerns, according to a report by Juniper Research published on Tuesday.

Just over 200 million mobile phone users worldwide will have made use of mobile devices for banking purposes by the end of this year, with that figure set to rise to more than 400 million by 2013, the report found. Western Europe will be the region with the highest penetration of users in 2015, according to Juniper.

Cost Reduction

The overall strategy for banks is to reduce costs by steering users away from call centres, Juniper said. For instance, the report found that banks are likely to increase their use of techniques such as SMS messaging around processes such as loan applications, trebling the volume of mobile banking messages to nearly 90 billion messages per year by 2015. That’s about one message every two days per mobile banking user, Juniper said.

“Our research found that messaging is a ‘win-win’ for banks,” said report author Howard Wilcox, in a statement. “They can improve customer service significantly, whilst simultaneously eliminating the cost of servicing customer enquiries placed with call centres.”

Currently more than 80 percent of banks offer some form of mobile banking, Wilcox said.

Safety Concerns

A survey published last month by KPMG Europe found that the proportion of mobile phone useres who have used their mobile device for banking has more than doubled over the last 18 months, from 19 percent to 46 percent.

People in the UK were more sceptical than the average about the safety of mobile online transactions, the report found, with only 19 percent of people having used a mobile device for banking, and 15 percent buying goods and services over a mobile.

Several recent incidents have underscored concerns about e-banking. Earlier this month security researchers from M86 Security reported that Eastern European-based cyber-criminals had stolen £675,000 from an unnamed British bank using a new version of the Zeus Trojan that cannot be detected by traditional firewalls.

Also this month, the Metropolitan Police Service’s Police Central E-Crime Unit (PCeU) said it had arrested six people on suspicion of online banking fraud. The arrests were part of Operation Dynamophone, an investigation by the PCeU into a network of suspects believed to have systematically obtained large quantities of personal information, such as online bank account passwords and credit card numbers.

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