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FIs move beyond basics in mobile banking says study
BROOKFIELD, Wis. (12/15/11)--Financial institutions, including credit unions, are poised to ramp up their mobile banking capabilities, according a survey of the mobile banking and payment plans of 10 top-tier financial institutions, including credit unions.

The survey results were announced Tuesday by Fiserv Inc., a global provider of financial services technology solutions.

The survey, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Fiserv in September, evaluated the plans of 10 banks and credit unions that collectively hold more than one-third of all U.S. deposit accounts. These financial institutions are progressing beyond the basics to provide increasingly sophisticated mobile capabilities, the results indicated.

Nine out of 10 financial institutions surveyed already have a mobile-banking offering that provides basic account access, and almost all provide ATM branch locators, transfers between accounts and bill payment.

"Most banks and credit unions are committed to delivering more robust capabilities and a better consumer experience via the mobile channel," said Erich Litch, division president, digital channels, Fiserv. "Faced with a rapidly evolving market that is also being pursued by sophisticated, well-funded third-parties, it is essential that financial institutions that want to remain competitive push forward with their own mobile-banking and payment strategies in 2012."

Transactional services, such as remote deposit capture and mobile person-to-person payments, will account for the bulk of mobile investment in 2012. However, despite a nearly unanimous commitment to expand overall mobile functionality, institutions remain split on plans to support mobile point-of-sale payments.

For 2012, financial institutions plan to focus on delivering remote deposit capture; actionable alerts, which allow recipients to initiate an action such as a funds transfer in response to an alert about a low balance; and additional payment capabilities. Eight of ten surveyed institutions plan to invest in some type of mobile payments in the next 12 months, with person-to-person mobile payments cited as a priority by seven respondents.

Financial institutions are committed to providing mobile banking and payments capabilities for a range of devices, with a focus on smartphones, Fiserv said. While none of the surveyed institutions offered specialized support for tablets, this was cited as a priority for 2012 by multiple respondents.

While banks and credit unions are forging ahead in some areas, many have adopted a wait-and-see attitude with mobile point-of-sale payments. Although the surveyed financial institutions demonstrated an understanding of what it will take to make mobile point-of-sale payments a reality, many articulated a chicken-and-egg scenario in which concerns about consumer demand and merchant acceptance are hindering greater investment from their own institutions, Fiserv said.

While financial institutions surveyed view the progress of nontraditional competitors such as technology and telecommunications providers as a validation of mobile payments, and as a promotional tool to build consumer and merchant interest, most of them stated that such announcements have had no or minimal impact on their own mobile-payments strategy. This may put them at risk of delivering new capabilities too late, Fiserv said.

A white paper detailing the survey results can be downloaded. Use the link.
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