Skip to content

Mobile banking is gaining traction, but does anyone care?

  • By Timothy Roberts
  • Thursday, April 01, 2010

Last week the Ottawa Business Journal published an interesting article about the growth of mobile banking in Canada.

I’m not a naysayer of technology, rather a big believer in workable business models and practical useful applications. I side with the statement in the article:

In a survey of nearly 6,000 Canadians, the most popular responses to why users hadn’t enrolled in mobile banking were: “I don’t see the point,” “I get everything I need from online banking,” and “my banking needs are not that urgent that I can’t wait to access my accounts through the phone, ATM, or the web.

Here’s my problem — and I’ll base it on statistics that are dated but still applicable: the ATM Network in 2005 was more than 51,000 strong. Assuming that number is the same in 2010 that would represent one ATM machine for every 665 people in Canada. As well the number of Point-of-Sale devices in Canada exceed 300,000, or one for almost every 10 Canadians, and a additional point at which more than 65% of Canadians can ask for cash back during a debit card purchase. Canadians don’t lack from access to banking or the ability to receive cash. Adoption of mobile banking will have to address other aspects other than quick and rapid access to cash or the ability for nationwide payment mechanisms.

Citi-Bank has a series of commercials that I’ve seen – hilarious. Check them out on YouTube. The same example that is portrayed in this commercial is achievable by using telephone banking from the mobile phone If only mobile banking would utilize minimal number of keystrokes and incorporate zero authentication as the CitiBank commercial portrays.

My favorite parody on banking comes from MadTV’s Ms Swan. Always a chuckle. Ms Swan could be the ultimate advocate for such a service, but I think based on the numbers Ms Swan will likely stumble into an ATM machine, have access to a POS network, and may even wait to get home to her broadband network connection to use internet banking.

Let’s keep the discussion going about where mobile banking is headed in Canada – everyone is talking about it, but adoption is stalling – where do you think it’s going next?