US edges towards mobile banking

Progress is being made as technological problems are solved

The US seems to be moving closer to a goal of using mobile handsets to accomplish financial transactions and make purchases as several competing market players align on both technology and objectives, according to research company In-Stat. Although 2008 will not be "the year of mobile payments" in the US, some progress is likely, the high-tech market research firm predicted.

"There is evidence that the US market may overcome a crucial technology incompatibility and make progress during 2008 toward contactless payments using cellphones," said David Chamberlain, In-Stat analyst.

"Companies in several different sectors all ultimately want to deploy near field communications (NFC), the key enabling technology, into handsets as well as in merchant payment terminals." There is also general agreement that the current generation of mobile banking services is an important first step toward accomplishing that goal.

Recent research by In-Stat found:

  • Depending on several technologies, commercial, and marketing factors, between eight million and 30 million customers in North America will be using NFC-based contactless payments by 2012.
  • More than 34 million cell phones could be used for other financial applications like online banking by 2012.

Len Rust is publisher of The Rust Report

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