Monetizing Mobile Banking Services: Global Banks Compete, but how Will They Succeed?

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Emerging markets provide models for global banks to profit from mobile services, according to Ernst & Young and Knowledge@Wharton

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A successful mobile banking strategy must be built around the customer experience. How are your customers using mobile devices? What do they expect from their bank?

Over the next 5 to 10 years, expect mobile banking to become as routine as using ATMs. This is the key finding from the latest Global Banking: Foresight & Insights video series from Ernst & Young and Knowledge@Wharton. The series explores how banks around the world can succeed in the mobile banking space by reducing the cost of service delivery while generating new revenue streams and better connecting with customers. As banks deploy this technology, they will need to be open-minded and willing to learn marketing and security lessons from trailblazing developing markets.

As customers in developed and emerging markets continue to migrate to online and mobile platforms, tablets and smartphones may provide the final push to a cashless society that started with widespread adoption of credit and debit cards.

But, according to Ernst & Young’s global retail banking survey in 2011, only a little more than half (58%) of banking customers currently use mobile banking options, and only 44% of customers who do are satisfied with the service.

Understanding the best way to deliver innovative, secure mobile services to mobile devices – keeping in mind regional differences – could offer a significant competitive advantage to banks when contending with other banks and with non-bank competitors in new markets or expanding service offerings in current markets.

“A successful mobile banking strategy must be built around the customer experience. How are your customers using mobile devices? What do they expect from their bank?” says Keith Weigelt, Professor of Management at the Wharton School. “It may take region-specific solutions, but banks must be prepared to provide mobile services on tablets, smartphones and via SMS messages as these mobile service offerings clearly present an opportunity to win new customers, increase share of wallet for existing customers and ultimately generate profits.”

In addition to Weigelt, the video series titled The Future of Mobile Banking also features John Keller, Ernst & Young Americas Banking & Capital Markets Advisory Leader and Steve Ferguson, Ernst & Young Asia-Pacific Banking & Capital Markets Leader. In the series’ feature clip, “Can Banks Make Money in Mobile Banking?” the participants identify customer backlash toward additional fees as the most significant challenge to banks pursuing growth through mobile channels.

The group also debates a variety of strategies banks can deploy to support a return on mobile banking investments and also the threats posed by non-bank competitors, such as telecommunication companies and retailers.

Keller adds: “A diverse strategy including differential pricing, development of multiple mobile platforms and a focus on driving customers to cheaper service channels will put banks in the best position to succeed in the mobile banking space. Banks will have to choose their markets carefully, tailor their platforms and products accordingly, keep an eye on innovations in the technology sector and glean best practices in terms of customer experience and security from growth markets.”

In addition to this latest video in the series, Knowledge@Wharton and Ernst & Young recently published Global Banking 2020: Foresight & Insights, a video-enhanced eBook available for download on a variety of tablets, including the iPad. To download a web version of the eBook or view excerpt videos, please visit the enhanced eBook preview page. Our entire video series on the future of banking is available at the “Global Banking: Foresight & Insights” website.    

About Knowledge@Wharton and the Wharton School

Knowledge@Wharton is the online business analysis journal of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The site, which is free, captures relevant knowledge generated at Wharton and beyond by offering articles and videos based on research, conferences, speakers, books and interviews with faculty and other experts on current business topics. The Knowledge@Wharton network – including Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Indian, Arabic and High School editions – has more than 1.7 million subscribers worldwide.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania — founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school — is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. The most comprehensive source of business knowledge in the world, Wharton bridges research and practice through its broad engagement with the global business community. The School has more than 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and an alumni network of 88,000 graduates.

About Ernst & Young’s Global Banking & Capital Markets Center

In today’s globally competitive and highly regulated environment, managing risk effectively while satisfying an array of divergent stakeholders is a key goal of banks and securities firms. Ernst & Young’s Global Banking & Capital Markets Center brings together a worldwide team of professionals to help clients achieve their potential – a team with deep technical experience in providing assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The Center works to anticipate market trends, identify the implications and develop points of view on relevant industry issues. Ultimately it enables us to help clients meet their goals and compete more effectively. It’s how Ernst & Young makes a difference.

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 152,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.

Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients.

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