Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mobile Banking

I've been hearing more and more about mobile banking lately, and I'm on the fence. On the one hand, it would be really handy to check your account balances, pay bills, and make transfers from the comfort of your mobile phone. On the other hand, I'm not too sure how secure it would be, how the Internet speed would be, and whether or not I would actually want to make transactions on that tiny cellphone screen I have.

Bank of America recently announced that it is going to be offering mobile banking this year, with initial rollout expected in March.

The Wall Street Journal also had a good piece on mobile banking today, and from that story, it is clear that this is soon going to become a standard service offered by most banks. Among other potential pitfalls, the Journal mentions that unencrypted text messages (which some banks would use to update customers with account balances) are prone to being intercepted by hackers, and that mobile devices such as blackberries are increasingly becoming targets of viruses.

I'm a big believer in technology, though, and I think mobile banking will catch on and over the next few years, it will become more popular, particularly in the US. The Journal notes that "fewer than than 1 percent of Americans use mobile-banking services, compared with 3 percent in Western Europe and Japan." While I think it is strange to compare 1 percent with 3% and act like that is a big difference, I definitely think there is plenty of room for growth in the space.

Would I want to be an early adopter? No way!

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