Mobile banking rings up net victory
THE number of Australians now using mobile banking has exceeded 6 million, with the pace of take-up coming at a faster rate than internet banking.
While it took nearly four years for the 6 million figure to be reached for internet banking users, mobile banking hit this number in a little over three years, according to new figures released by financial services consultancy the Market Intelligence Strategy Centre.
The findings come after official data released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority show that almost half of Australia's adult population now owns a smartphone with 8.7 million using a smartphone in the past 12 months.
All the major banks have recently upgraded their in-house Android apps, the technology platform used by fast-selling smartphones such as Samsung.
They all also offer apps for Apple smartphones, but only some offer apps for Windows smartphones.
The introduction of mobile banking has seen demand for basic transaction services skyrocket.
Mobile technology is also changing how banks sell to their customers.
It is also providing a rethink among banks about how they use their vast and expensive branch networks.
Westpac, for one, has outlined plans to spend $240 million on an overhaul of its branch network in response to sweeping technological change.
With branches increasingly being used for advice rather than transactions, the shake-up will see the number of staff cut back and floor space reduced in some branches.
The head of Westpac's retail and business bank, Jason Yetton, recently said the advent of mobile banking "has completely altered the way our customers bank with us".
In its report on the mobile banking market, released on Monday, the Market Intelligence Strategy Centre said the already high use of internet banking and growth in faster mobile broadband speeds as well as smartphones had helped spur on uptake of mobile banking.
"While it previously took internet banking some 15 quarters to pass the 6 million users level, mobile banking has taken 13 quarters to achieve the same milestone," the MISC report said.
Further innovation, such as the spread of remote merchant payments and real-time deposits will help spur on further take-up of mobile banking, it says.
Commonwealth Bank, which has more than 2 million mobile customers, last year launched its Kaching mobile banking app, which allows users to transfer fund between friends even without the need for banking details.
A recent study by CBA found mobile banking use peaked at lunchtime and during the early evening.