AN increased demand for mobile wallet services is set to fuel growth in the local banking sector, according to Steve Hamilton-Clark, CEO of TNS MENA.
He said that consumers are warming up to the notion of using mobile transaction services for banking or purchases, but that some markets are quicker on the uptake than others. “We are seeing a pattern of acceptance in emerging markets, while the cautious West is taking longer to follow suit. It all comes down to the underlying motivations behind adopting new technologies, with trust in online security at the core,” Hamilton-Clark said.
He noted that as the benefits of the mobile wallet are being realised in developed Asian markets, he expects the rest of the world to wake up to its potential. “A quarter of Japanese mobile users are managing their finances and paying for products via a mobile wallet,” he said. “Globally, 53 per cent of all users say they prefer mobile wallet services to be provided by banks, with credit cards companies coming in with 19 per cent of the vote, mobile networks at 14 percent and large retail stores at just seven per cent.”
Hamilton-Clark was citing figures from TNS’s annual Mobile Life study which explored mobile usage among 48,000 people in 58 countries.
The study confirms the massive potential but warns that deeper understanding of consumer needs, the removal of entry barriers and enhanced online security are required before a full embrace can take place.
Hamilton-Clark acknowledged that to unlock the full growth potential of the mobile wallet it is crucial to understand what drives local nuances, as well as the players in strategic partnerships.
“It comes down to a variety of motivating factors. In Cameroon, for example, 83 per cent of people stated that a bank is their preferred mobile wallet provider, compared to 49 percent in UAE, and just 29 per cent in Switzerland,” he added.
He said that while Asia looks to be spearheading the embrace of the sector, there is a growing interest within the Middle East with consumers in Saudi Arabia and UAE growing at 37 per cent and 31 per cent respectively.
Hamilton-Clark advised brands to look at where and how uptake is working. “It is vital to understand how mobile will fit into the repertoire of existing banking channels and in tandem to find ways to reassure consumers through this transition.”
In India for instance this has meant helping people access the money where banking infrastructure is limited.
“There is huge opportunity in developed markets. Our research shows that while only one in 10 global mobile users take advantage of this service, just 25 per cent are actually averse to it – which leaves the majority open for conversion.
“The big success stories with mobile financial services – be it mobile banking or wallet – are where providers identify a need and work towards effectively meeting it,” Hamilton-Clark noted.