Mobile banking quickly reaching maturity in Europe, really?

This was a very unexpected statement from one of the speakers at the Mobile Keynote at Sibos 2010.

Next time you do a presentation, try the following with your audience.

Ask how many people have a mobile phone. 100% show of hands.
Ask how many people have a smart phone. 50% to 70%.
Ask how many people have more than one smart phone. 10% to 15% (make a note of their names and don’t invite them next time, they’re geeks).
Ask how many people use their smart phone for mobile browsing, gaming, etc, anything other than making calls. 100%.

Then ask how many people do mobile banking on their phone. 3% to 5%.

And that corresponds exactly to recent statistics from the US where banking channel usage preference is shown as 50% via the internet, 25% via branches, 15% via ATMs and 5% via mobile.

I know we all like to juggle with statistics when we’re trying to sell something and that’s fine when we talk about forecasts. That’s what we pay our analysts for, right? But to come out with statements like this about mobile banking maturity today goes a bit far, does it not?

Now if you were to ask this in Kenya or India, you would get very different answers. If I got a Euro every time someone mentions m-Pesa, I would be writing this blog from an iPad. At the rate at which this is going, soon m-Pesa will enter the English language just like Google did. I don’t search the web anymore, I google it. And I won’t be making a money transfer, I’ll empesa you.

In my next blog I’ll write a bit more about mobile and how it’s not just a channel but the most disruptive technology since the Gutenberg press and the internet. We have always wanted to know our customers, well now we can.

And you’ll understand the opportunities. You’ll understand that you need to act fast, because if you don’t, you’ll get m-Pesa’d soon enough.

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