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Mobile Banking : an Introduction

By: Paramantapa Dasgupta

An Introduction to Mobile Banking

By Paramantapa Dasgupta

After Internet Banking, Mobile Banking or M-Banking has become the buzz word in the industry. It's a fact that Internet Banking has given a boost and has shown a successful way to consider it as a good alternative procedure against physical branch banking. Now where ever you are, you can access your bank account and you can do lot more things like checking your account balance, transfer money to some other account, pay your utility bills online and so on, just by comfortably sitting at your home or office. But, the technical disadvantage of Internet Banking is, you have to have internet connectivity and a computer. Definitely it's not a big hindrance in US or Europe or in the other developed countries, but if one considers the developing economies, then it's a genuine problem and more specifically in the tier II cities.

And here Mobile Banking comes into the picture to address the basic limitation of Internet Banking. If we only consider Asian developing countries, the availability of mobile connectivity is really huge. Where one may not find out a landline telephone or an internet connection, but still in those remote places getting mobile connectivity is not a major issue today.

So, Mobile Banking has given the traditional banking a newer look "Anywhere Banking". Now you don't need a PC or a laptop with internet connectivity, just you need your cell phone with you. Considering the Asian economy countries like China, India and Korea have seen the mobile boom in last one decade. A projected value of mobile connectivity in India shows that it will touch 180 Million subscribers by the end of 2008, where it was pegged at around 2 Million in the year 2000. In Korea, more than 70% of the entire population is carrying mobile devices.

The biggest advantage Mobile Banking provides to the banks is that it helps to cut down the costs as it's even more economic than providing tele-banking facilities where banks have to keep hundreds of tele-callers. Additionally, Mobile Banking helps banks to upgrade the quality of services and nature of customer relationship management. Using Mobile Banking, banks can communicate to the defined cluster of clients. The offers can be customized and this personalization can give the banking industry a huge mileage, even at a lower cost. Again, using the same mobile channels, banks can up-sell and cross-sell their highly complex financial products to the specific set of customers which can be coupled with the selling strategies of Credit Cards, Home Loans and Personal Loans etc. On the contrary, the service providers can also accrue more business by providing the Mobile Banking services to their clients. Countries like Japan, Korea or Singapore where the mobile connectivity has already reached its saturation, the service providers can make handsome business by providing additional banking services to the same static client base.

In the services front, different banking services can be provided, depending upon the banking regulations in respective countries which may include Account Balance Enquiry, Account Statement Enquiry, Credit/Debit Alerts, Bill Payment Alerts, Cheque Book Requisition, Transaction History, Minimum Balance Alerts, Fund Transfer Facilities, etc.

Mobile Banking activities can be categorized in two different manners.

1.By the Nature of Service: It can be any of the two, either Enquiry Based or Transaction Based. For example, Account Balance Enquiry or a Cheque Book Requisition can be the good examples of Enquiry Based Services where a Fund Transfer or a Bill Payment is a Transaction Based activity.

2.Depending on the Originator: Again there can be two different types of services; Push and Pull, depending on the nature of the originator. A Push based service is from the Bank to the Client and vice versa. For example, Bill Payment Alert can be a Push based service, when getting Recent Account History is a Pull based one.

In different countries, Mobile Banking has already gained its popularity. For example, in the South Korean market LG Telecom teamed up with Kookmin Bank to provide their Mobile Banking services in 2004 and since then they have seen a nice and steady growth. In India, Reliance Infocomm has started providing Mobile banking services to ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank through their R-World environment.

The Mobile Banking services will become more popular once the availability of the smart phones or PDA phones shall increase as Smart Phones come with larger screens and bigger memory size. In the application development front, both J2ME and BREW have done excellent work and industry expects by the year 2012, more than 80% of the mobile handsets will be able to run stand alone Mobile Banking applications and that time it will be "Anywhere Banking" in real sense.

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