In a fast-paced world, consumers are
increasingly tech savvy, always connected and used to having access
to the information they need anytime and anywhere. This change in
mentality has driven the rise in mobile banking as consumers look
to new and more convenient channels through which to connect with
their bank.

Underlining the importance of the mobile
channel, in 2011 smartphones sales overtook PC sales for the first
time. According to market analyst firm Canalsys, nearly 488m
smartphones were shipped, compared to 415m PCs.

However, the always-on consumer has posed
problems for financial services companies as the time they have to
conceive, create and deploy new services is getting shorter.

In addition, with some areas of the world
lacking basic branch banking infrastructure and many people having
to walk miles to reach their nearest branch, mobile banking has
become the only way to maintain a relationship with their banks in
many countries.

And with many financial institutions yet to
establish global mobile banking operations, mobile operators are
stepping in to fill the space and provide services in this area.
Banks thus need a mobile banking solution that offers services that
are tailored to different segments of customers.

Having an innovative mobile banking presence
is one way that financial services institutions can differentiate
themselves in the market, ensure customer loyalty, attract new
customers, and thus generate new revenue streams.

One way that banks can push the innovation
agenda is through mobile payments on consumer smartphones.

Mobility can bridge the gap between pull and
push payments – for example utility companies could nudge users to
pay bills by SMS and the consumer can then pay direct from their
smartphone over a secure network. This is beneficial for the banks,
utility companies and customers.

Bill collection rates would go up, utility
providers would be able to garner a much deeper and direct
relationship with the customer and save the time and money it takes
to go through written channels. Banks will also benefit from being
able to have a more direct relationship with their customers while
cutting operating costs by pushing these transactions to lower cost
channels.

Meanwhile consumers could choose to pay when
it suits them and the correct authentication technology could
eliminate the need to sign up to a specific service. In addition,
enabling consumers to pay for services like car parking direct from
their phones is a great way of queue busting.

Ghanaian-owned uniBank become the first
customer to go-live with Temenos’s ARC Mobile in 2011. The bank
connected ARC Mobile into its PayStore electronic payment network,
which was then connected to mobile operators and utilities
providers. That meant uniBank mobile app users could top up their
pre-paid mobile phone directly from their bank – account.

This service simplifies the top up process and
generates transactional income for the bank and other merchants.
uniBank is now able to offer more extensive banking statements via
the mobile channel and became the first bank in Ghana to offer more
sophisticated services such as m-commerce.

Enabling consumers to top up their handset or
a handset of a family member, as well as pay utility bills and
carry out general transactions on their mobile phone has the
potential to be a very powerful differentiator. If banks can offer
mobile services that are of real value to customers and solve true
customer pain points then they will be able to secure their place
as a mobile banking leader.

Phil Sorrell is the director for mobile banking for
Temenos