Finovate 2007: Mobile Banking

Craig  McLaughlin

October 04, 2007

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I just got back from Finovate 2007 in New York City where I had a chance to see some very efficient presentations. Twenty companies were each given 7 minutes to present their offerings – and PowerPoint was not allowed. For the most part the solutions fell into two types of applications, Web based PFMs and Mobile Banking Platforms.

Clearly, the next few years will be marked by developments in mobile banking within financial services firms. Tomorrow’s user who logs in from a home computer will be as rare as today’s user who checks his balance at the local branch. Mobile banking will replace most of what users are doing online today.

And the competition is thick in this space. Finovate showcased several companies in this area including:.

1. Monetise
2. Clairmail
3. mShift
4. mFoundry
5. Firethorn
6. Yodlee

Each platform is slightly different, the user experience varying in complexity. mShift claims 80-90% market share. They seem to have the most credit unions, clients in Extractable’s neck of the woods.

Yodlee positions itself as the personal finance company to replace Quicken or MS Money. With 3 million existing customers they are adding a new customer every 20 seconds.

Monetise, a joint venture from Metavante, offered a neat solution that included mobile wallet functionality. They walked through a scenario where the user could purchase newspapers with the tool. Their client application will come pre-installed from some carriers shortly.

ClairMail offers the most high-touch’ platform for communicating with customers. They walked through fourteen use cases that addressed flows like transaction verification in which banks can reach out to the consumer mobile device. They stressed that we should look at mobile as a platform – not a channel.

There are a large number of players in the mobile banking space. The solutions they offer are by no mean homogenous. Each player appears to approach technology and customer delivery channels in different ways.

The bottom line is that much as online banking is required in today’s financial services delivery mix, mobile banking will be a required delivery channel tomorrow. Banks and Credit Unions should review available solutions from an operational and customer focused perspective before developing a long term mobile strategy that will meet customer needs. It is important to note that switching costs will be higher down the road given mobile platform selection so we would recommend doing an exhaustive analysis of how mobile banking will fit into the delivery mix from a longer term perspective.