Mobile transactions soar amid UK banking ‘revolution’

Mobile banking transactions in the UK have doubled in a single year as Brits turn their backs on branches in favour of more modern ways of interaction. More than 5.7 million transactions are being made every day via smartphones and tablets, according to the figures compiled by the British Bankers Association (BBA).

Anthony Browne, chief executive of the BBA, says the UK is enjoying a “revolution” in how people spend, move and manage their money.

Certainly the figures are pretty staggering. Customers of the five biggest retail banks have downloaded more than 12.4 million bank apps and use mobile phones for 18.6 million transactions each week. The Royal Bank of Scotland mobile app alone has clocked up over one billion logins to date.

It’s a radical transformation in the way people interact with their banks. While the branch is still a vital component, face-to-face relationships are dwindling. Mobile banking is now firmly accepted by British consumers, which poses challenges for banks as well as opportunities. They must continue to offer a good service in branch while also adapting to the digital environment.

But the BBA figures reveal a much deeper shift in consumer behaviour than just a rise in mobile transactions. For example, Brits made nearly 40 million mobile and internet transactions a week in 2013, while 28.4 million debit and credit cards are fitted with contactless technology.

“Consumers are also rushing to use contactless cards, text alerts and a range of other easy-to-use technology. This is innovation that connects us more strongly to our banks than ever before and gives us greater freedom to handle our money wherever and whenever we please,” says Mr Browne. Figures from Visa show contactless payments are soaring across Europe, part of the broader shift in behaviour that the BBA report highlights.

Branches will remain the cornerstone for banking, but increasingly what people want is banking on the move that is “fast, easy and convenient”. I would add to that one more thing; secure.

Andy Brown