Apps make mobile banking cool; Banks working on security perceptions

The popularity of mobile applications for the Blackberry, iPhone and others has given new life to the concept of mobile banking - and the banks out there are pushing their customers to give it a try.Mintel Comperemedia, a service that provides direct marketing competitive intelligence, said today that the phrase "mobile banking" appeared in direct mail offers from banks twice as often as it did in the first half of 2008, according to research.

The popularity of mobile applications for the Blackberry, iPhone and others has given new life to the concept of mobile banking - and the banks out there are pushing their customers to give it a try.

Credit: BankofAmerica.com

Mintel Comperemedia, a service that provides direct marketing competitive intelligence, said today that the phrase "mobile banking" appeared in direct mail offers from banks twice as often as it did in the first half of 2008, according to research. And, mobile banking is also more often the subject of e-mail offers, as well.

So does that mean that mobile banking has finally hit the mainstream? Well, yes and no.

The big banks out there are further along with the mobile banking offerings than, say, a small credit union. And increasingly, customers who have become comfortable with online banking - a growing number - are likely to give mobile banking a try. Said Susan Wolfe, VP of financial services at Mintel Comperemedia:

Mobile banking isn’t new, but it’s getting a huge push from the popularity of the iPhone and BlackBerry. As more consumers adopt smart phones and adapt to truly on-the-go lifestyles, they’re seeking banking applications and technology that keeps up with them.

I have to admit that I've only had limited exposure with mobile banking - but I have done it. The apps do make the process much more appealing than trying to use a mobile web browser to replicate the PC experience. But I also have to admit that I kept checking my bank account regularly for a week after I conducted a mobile transfer between accounts once.

Call me a bit paranoid still.

Wolfe, in the company's news release, said security perceptions remains a challenge but that banks will soon start addressing those concerns by focusing on the security of the apps and transactions. She said:

Online banking was intimidating to customers early on too but once banks could guarantee security, customers flocked online for flexibility and convenience. I expect the transition into mobile banking will happen in a similar way.

I would agree.