More banking tools move to mobile

Adoption is driven by goal of banks in Asia to make financial services available to their customers anywhere, any time, says Financial Insights.

Banks in the Asia-Pacific region will increasingly converge their mobile and Internet banking channels over the next 12 months. In the process, this will impact how financial institutions craft their channel strategies and engage with customers, a new report by Financial Insights revealed.

However, the level of convergence will differ between the region's developed and developing countries, the IDC company noted in its report released Wednesday. Financial institutions in the mature markets are seeking to converge the two banking channels, whereas those in developing markets plan to increase their customer bases, it said.

Abhishek Kumar, senior research analyst at the research firm, said banks will have to grapple with various issues as they converge the two channels. The level of mobile technology capable of commonly supporting financial transactions over mobile devices; getting the various parties on board; and a user-friendly interface are some challenges, Kumar told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail.

He explained the convergence is being driven by banks aiming to make financial services available to customers anywhere and at any time.

"Customers will no longer have to go to the bank because the bank will be in their pockets," he said.

As for mobile banking, the availability of innovative mobile devices across the region will help it to become the common banking channel in the Asia-Pacific region in 2009, Kumar said.

Improved mobile technology has allowed financial institutions to provide applications that can work on a large number of mobile phones. "These applications are easier to deploy, use and are generally considered more secure," he said.

But the report revealed that the lack of a common level of mobile phone technology and telecommunication infrastructure across the region adds to the difficulty of deploying a single effective mobile financial platform across all countries.

Based in Singapore, Konrad Foo is an intern with ZDNet Asia.