Mobile banking is going places fast
Payments Smartphone banking is taking off faster than any other new payment system in history, according to Nationwide.
People are turning to their smartphones to do their banking with enthusiasm. Already, more people access their accounts on their mobiles than their home computers, according to Nationwide Building Society.
A million mobile payments are made every month, a figure that has grown by 60 per cent in the last year.
“The mobile app has been a great boon to our customers, with 850,000 regular users,” says Paul Horlock, head of payments at the society. “They use it to check balances and manage their money on the move, and they find that incredibly useful.” The advent of mobile banking has driven changes in behaviour. The most popular time to check one’s bank balance is now first thing on Monday morning, either on the train or as soon as you get into work. Clearly, people need to know how much they have left after a weekend’s eating, socialising and shopping.
With so many people using mobile devices, both Apple and Android, there is a steady upward trend in the use of mobile banking services, with people keen to use this new technology that is available to them. About 65 per cent of mobile payments are made using Apple’s iOS system, Horlock says, despite having less than 40 per cent of the smartphone market. “We are seeing people constantly checking their accounts, which is particularly useful if you use mobile payments and want to keep a close eye on what you are doing,” Horlock says.
The number of mobile payments has grown by 60% in the last year
Right now, the most widely used mobile payment systems are the Paym app backed by the banks, and Apple Pay.
Apple Pay allows you to use your iPhone or Apple Watch as if you were using your credit or debit card. PayM enables you to send money direct from your bank account via the Faster Payments system to the mobile phones of family, friends and tradesmen.
One difference between Apple Pay and Paym is that only Paym shows your balance so you can be absolutely sure you have your money before you make a payment. “People really like that immediacy,” Horlock says. However, Paym is not growing as fast as Apple Pay, which is being pushed by a massive publicity campaign.
“Paym is growing slowly,” Horlock admits. “The people that use it, love it and we need to raise awareness.”
Many people are also worried about the security of mobile payments, despite the strong encryption and fingerprint authorisation. Compare that with the ease with which cash can be stolen or lost, with very little chance of getting it back - if a phone is stolen, the owner can cancel the payment option and the bank will repay any losses.
“In the customer’s mind it’s fast and efficient but it’s got to be safe, and that is why we have got to make it really clear that contactless cards and mobile wallets can provide more security than cash and that’s quite a mind shift that we have yet to work our way through,” Horlock says.
The next step, Horlock says, could be wearable, such as wristbands, contactless stickers or even clothes with chips sewn into sleeves. Soon, paying for that coffee could be a matter of a flick of the wrist.