No one prepared to own the mobile banking space

National Australia Bank has made a tentative move into the mobile banking market with the launch last month of a service called SMS Banking.

The service allows customers to use their mobile's SMS function to check their account balance, receive a mini statement or transfer funds between linked NAB accounts.

The service does not have a bill payment or pay-anyone function. NAB is offering it as a free service until November.

NAB's move follows ANZ's introduction of two mobile services in February. Its M-Banking service allows customers to use their mobiles to transfer funds between accounts and make pay-anyone payments to any third party with an Australian bank account.

The other service, TXT Banking, provides account balances and mini statements via text messages. Customers can choose one service or both.

When it comes to mobile banking that is pretty much what is on offer in Australia. Trials conducted by Citibank and Westpac never resulted in full-blown services.

It is a situation that has prompted Luke Janssen, the chief executive of the digital services company TigerSpike, to suggest that the mobile space is there to be claimed by an innovative bank. “No one has taken ownership of the channel,” Janssen said.

Janssen said of bank's approach to mobile banking: “They tend to over-complicate things, which is true of their online services as well. One of the rules in mobile is that you have to be no more than three clicks away from the application with no instructions needed to get you there.”

“Banks and other companies think of mobile as an extension of their online services. That is a mistake. You need to create applications specifically for handsets and test them for different types of handsets to make sure they suit the channel.”

Janssen believes banks are hampered in their mobile development by an obsession with security. “Concerns about security hold them back. The demand for high levels of security soaks up time and budget.”

Source: The Sheet

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