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1bn users go mobile with banking

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More than 1-billion mobile phone users will have used their devices for banking purposes by the end of this year. This global user base is forecast by Juniper Research to reach 2-billion by 2020, by which time it will represent 37% of the global adult population.

Growth in adoption has been particularly aggressive in emerging markets, leading Juniper to revise adoption forecasts upwards. Under Juniper’s revised forecasts, mobile banking users will exceed the 1-billion mark this year instead of during H1 2016 as previously anticipated.

The new research, “Worldwide Digital Banking: Mobile, Online & Wearable 2015-2020”, notes that banking strategy in the retail space has evolved into an omnichannel approach by providing a seamless and integrated experience across multiple individual channels. However, while most consumers – especially in developed markets – prefer digital banking and virtual channels, a significant proportion still favour an in-branch, face-to-face meeting compared with an audio or video call with a customer contact centre.

Juniper argues that this strategy will change further as banks finalise a “balancing act” between multiple channels. “This is more likely to be centred on the mobile device as more banks move towards a ‘mobile first’ approach; additionally, this trend is likely to accelerate given the scale of physical branch closures in some markets”, adds research author Nitin Bhas.

Meanwhile, the research observed that while Bitcoin has struggled to match the hype, the technology underpinning it, the blockchain, is becoming the focus of increased attention from banks as an array of alternative implementations are considered.

It pointed out that players such as UBS and Deutsche Bank are exploring models whereby banks could become “the custodians of cryptographic keys” and use the technology to create a common standard for securities and assets trading.

Juniper estimates that around 19% of global household bills will be paid via PC, tablet and mobile devices this year.

Meanwhile, global online banking users as a proportion of banked individuals is forecast to cross the 50% mark in 2016.