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'Smartphonatics' Driving Mobile Payments: Report

A new survey from Aite Group and ACI examines the trends of those who primarily use smartphones to conduct financial transactions.

As the use of smart mobile devices continues to rise globally, consumers will come to expect to have an integrated mobile banking, payments and commerce experience at their fingertips, according to a new survey conducted by Boston-based analyst firm Aite group and payments systems provider ACI Worldwide.

The study looked at mobile banking and payment adoption rates in 14 countries and identified a group of people the survey referred to as "smartphonatics," described as people who change their shopping, financial and payment behavior as a result of owning a smartphone. The report makes the claim that Smartphonatics' behavior is shaping consumer needs and requirements for mobile payment and banking solutions, and sets the bar for how financial institutions and retailers will have to respond over the next five years to stay competitive.

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According to Ron Shevlin, senior analyst for Aite Group, it is this convergence of banking, payments and shopping all on a mobile device that will become the expected norm in the future, and is being driven by the behavior of smartphonatics.

The survey found that nearly 25 percent of consumers globally can be classified as smartphonatics. India has the highest percentage of total population identified as smartphonatics, at 60 percent, followed by South Africa at 42 percent. The fewest are found in Germany (10 percent), France (8 percent) and Canada (7 percent). The United States ranks in the middle at 20 percent. According to Shevlin, this disparity is due to several factors, including a generally younger population base in India and China as compared to the U.S. and Western Europe. Also, he noted, countries such as India have less traditional payments infrastructure than in the U.S., thus making it easier for mobile payments to gain a foothold.

Ralph Dangelmaier, president, global markets and services for ACI Worldwide, said even among smartphonatics, increase in mobile banking and payments will not lead to the demise of traditional banking. Rather, the findings indicated that while using a mobile device is the preferred method of payment and banking in many groups, it is not expected to be the only method.

"Consumers expect to shop and transact anywhere, at anytime making mobile the hottest area of opportunity for financial institutions, processors and retailers today," said Dangelmaier. "These organizations need to plan strategically for mobile as part of their overall channel strategy, alongside ATMs, POS, branch and online banking."

Both Shevlin and Dangelmaier agreed that the use of mobile wallets will become more prevalent as the influence and number of smartphonatics increase.

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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