Smartphones Bring Banking at your Fingertips

In the last quarter of 2010, about 30 mn Americans used their mobile phones to access financial accounts, up 54% from the same time in the previous year. Bankers acknowledge that mobile banking has become an essential channel for acquiring new customers, especially those from the younger generation.

The above statements reflect the sweeping changes in consumer behavior and technology driving the popularity of mobile banking, tipped to become the primary channel of financial transaction in the future. With smartphones growing fastest among handheld devices, new possibilities are opening up to further improve the mobile banking experience.

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Currently, the functions under mobile banking either cater to an information or service request, or enable a transaction such as fund transfer or bill payment. A couple of innovations in the latter area could transform the way bills are paid and also catalyze the adoption of mobile banking.

Take the case of a ‘presentment bill’, that is, an invoice which is presented for an exact payment. Consumers might receive the bill either as a hard copy or electronic file, and similarly, pay using paper (cash or check) or through a variety of electronic channels including internet and mobile banking. A recent technology, the Quick Response (QR) Code, is set to compress the entire bill payment process into a couple of clicks, leveraging the native capabilities of a smartphone.

Here’s how it works. The QR Code is a 2-dimensi