The UK has undergone a mobile banking ërevolutioní, with the number of people utilising their smart phones and mobile devices for day-day purposes doubling in the past year, the British Bankers Association has identified.
The BBA highlighted that a staggering 5.7 million transactions are made on a daily basis by people using mobile devices, and pointed to the recent closure of a number of smaller bank branches across the UK as clear evidence that mobile banking is ascending to supremacy for transaction and withdrawal purposes.
“There’s an amazing revolution in the way people are banking,” BBA chief executive Anthony Browne told the BBC.
He argued that a high number of bank account holders have taken to using their mobiles for basic day-day purposes such as looking at their balance, paying off bills, acquiring loans and setting up emergency cash, which has lowered their necessity to utilise a local branch.
“The reason why it has grown so much is just that it’s a lot more flexible,” Mr Browne said.
“It’s driven by customers – they can do it any time of day or night. You can pay a bill while at the pub – that sort of thing.”
However, the BBA to allay fears that all banking branches would eventually be closed by citing that many larger banks would continue to stay open for the ëbig momentsí in peopleí
“Branches are an integral part of the industry,” he said. “They will be more focused on the big decisions – taking out a mortgage, taking out a big business loan, where you need to have a face-face interaction.”
He also pointed out that people could go to the Post Office if they wished to attain a standard banking service, but could not access their local branch for whatever reason.
In the last 25 years, the number of building society and bank branches across the UK has declined by a staggering 40%, with the primary reason for the fall being attributed to the ascendency of mobile and internet banking.
PAYM set to be launched
The mobile revolution as reported by the BBA is set to continue into this year, with the banking sectorís flagship Paym mobile banking system set to be introduced later on in 2014.
The system will enable people to determine a recipient for payments by utilising a certain phone number. It is intended to make the process of conducting and receiving payments a great deal easier, and provides users with a far higher level of security than if they were walking around and carrying their cards.
The system mirrors similar banking procedures in certain areas of Africa, such as Kenya, Tanzania, Fiji and South Africa, where it is a necessary measure to ensure that everyone can conduct their financial affairs without being at risk of losing all their money through theft.
M-Pesa, is currently used by over half of the Kenyan population to pay for daily essentials and items as well as transferring money and using services.
It is also prominent across other areas of Africa and it is estimated that around 17 million people user each month to make transactions totalling more than £740 million.
“The majority of people in Romania have at least one mobile device, but more than one third of the population do not have access to conventional banking,” said Vodafone director of mobile money Michael Joseph.