Consumers ignoring mobile financial services


Savings, loans, insurance and payment solutions for medical treatment and education are the key applications consumers would like to use in the next 12 months

Mobile financial services are failing to gain serious traction amongst users in both mature and developing markets, according to a new study.

More than 68% of respondents to a mobile financial services survey have yet to use mobile financial services. The survey, from customer experience company, Amdocs, with research firm Ovum, stated that new innovative solutions for savings, loans, and insurance will drive the next phase of mobile financial services growth across emerging and mature markets.

Conducted by Ovum on behalf of Amdocs, the survey focused on both users and non-users of mobile financial services worldwide. Lack of market awareness and misperceptions about mobile financial services are still key concerns, the study showed. The majority of the survey respondents either do not use mobile payments or financial services applications, or are unaware of them; this is more pronounced in emerging markets (73%) compared to mature markets (62%).

While 31% of respondents in emerging markets said that they were unaware of mobile payments or financial services, this figure was lower in mature markets (23%). Also, 34% of respondents in emerging markets said that they were aware but had no plans to use the services, compared to 30% of respondents in mature markets.

Respondents who have downloaded a financial services application or subscribed to a service but still do not use it showed similar trends in mature (9%) and emerging (8%) markets.

Said Eden Zoller, principal analyst at Ovum: “Consumers who have adopted mobile financial services appreciate the benefits these services can bring. The ubiquity and convenience – the ability to use mobile financial services anytime, anywhere – was the overwhelming benefit cited by survey respondents in both emerging and mature markets. These are immediate, tangible benefits and a powerful riposte to those who say there is no value in mobile financial services.

“This represents positive progress but mobile financial services providers can’t afford to be complacent as the research clearly shows that there are fundamental issues and challenges that still need to be addressed, ranging from security concerns and ease of use, to lack of awareness,” warned Zoller.

Savings, loans, insurance and payment solutions for medical treatment and education services will drive the next level of growth in mobile financial services, Ovum claimed, with 25% of respondents in emerging markets said they are likely to adopt advanced mobile financial services products – savings, loans, and insurance – in the next year, compared to 16% in mature markets. However, in some mature markets such as the UK and Sweden, the likelihood was much higher, ranging from 17% to 30%.

Emerging markets (22%) are more likely to adopt mobile financial services for making payments for medical treatment and education services than the mature markets (15%).

The study stated that increased security, low transaction charges, ease of use, rewards for using the service, and service ubiquity are key adoption drivers. Increased security was identified as the most important factor for driving adoption in both mature (40%) and emerging (39%) markets.

The preference for low transaction charges and fees show a similar trend in both mature and emerging markets (30%).

What is perhaps more surprising, showed the report, is that almost a third of respondents in both mature (30%) and emerging (29%) markets would adopt the services if they were easier to use, illustrating the fact that ease of use is still an issue.

One third of the mature market respondents (30%) would use mobile financial services if they were offered rewards, compared to 25% in emerging markets. A quarter of the respondents in both mature (24%) and emerging (25%) markets said they would use mobile financial services if they could use them anywhere, and at any time.

Noted Patrick McGrory, division president for Amdocs’ emerging offerings: “Driving the next phase of growth is the biggest challenge, globally, for mobile financial service providers. While the mature markets such as the US, Norway, and the UK need compelling value propositions, emerging markets such as Ghana, South Africa, Brazil, India, Philippines, and Mexico need innovative solutions that can deliver a range of affordable mobile financial services that are a viable alternative to traditional banking services. Communications service providers who take the lead in overcoming these challenges are set to reduce churn, improve customer stickiness, and tap new revenue streams.

Altogether, 8,500 consumers were surveyed in 17 countries across emerging and mature markets including UK, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, US, Canada, India, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, South Africa, and Ghana.


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