Make no mistake: Mobile is the future of banking
NOTHING FISHY: We could well be coming to a time when actual, physical money transactions are resigned to history books.
Dubai - Banking today is 24/7, 365; wherever you are, that's where your bank is
By Nigel Green
Published: Sat 12 Aug 2017, 3:59 PM
Last updated: Sat 12 Aug 2017, 6:00 PM
When you think of mobile banking, certain buzzwords spring to mind. Instant. Accessible. Convenient. All words to define what mobile banking means today for customers in the UAE and Middle East, and across the world, and indeed what they now expect from banking services.
We're seeing banks today recoiling from large branches and offices to our smartphones.
Visiting these conventional branches is quickly becoming a thing of the past. The days of going to the bank to cash a cheque, send a transfer or report a lost or stolen credit card are being superseded by an icon on a smartphone.
Banking today is 24/7, 365. Wherever you are, that's where your bank is. Check your balance whilst on business in London, transfer funds on a weekend getaway in New York or block a stolen card when on holiday in Sydney. Your banking services are available to you anywhere, anytime. And it only takes seconds.
The entire banking experience as we've known it over the years has been totally reinvented. Indeed, forecasts by eMarketer estimate that over 789 million people in the Middle East and Africa will own at least one smartphone by 2019. These people are, in effect, carrying their bank in their pocket all the time.
Furthermore, in 2016 Google ranked the UAE in pole position in global smartphone penetration, reaching 73.8 per cent, with the mobile app usage set to soar further still.
This 'convenient banking' trend is not only beneficial to customers, but also to the financial institutions, who learn more about their clients' behaviour from data gathered by the app.
That said, certain banks were reluctant to invest initially, meaning they have been lagging behind the cash-rich fintech organisations who are focused on what the future of banking should involve.
Such technological advances offer individuals today far more choice. This is not just in finance, but any industry. Indeed, customer loyalty is becoming short-lived. If people are not getting the desired level of service, or the technology simply isn't available to them, they'll move on to something else or somewhere else, that fulfils their expectations.
As such, in order to retain these customers, it's essential for banks to offer mobile services that they expect, but also provide services the customer has not idea as yet that they can't live without.
Additionally, as the popularity of apps is set to continue its stratospheric rise within the next five years, globally, we could well be coming to a time when actual, physical money transactions are resigned to the history books.
The figures corroborate this. There has been a 100 per cent rise in the downloading of finance apps over the past two years. Indeed, a survey by On Device Research found that the Middle East now account for 10 per cent of global mobile app traffic and revenue generation.
Therefore, leading banks must show a laser-like focus on the ongoing enhancement of mobile banking services to offer an advanced customer experience to meet demand.
They must constantly adapt to shifting trends as the world moves away from traditional banking, and work to develop with tech pioneers to continually improve the services they provide.
As we're seeing before our eyes, mobile is the future of banking.
The writer is the founder and chief executive of deVere Group. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.