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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mobile Banking or Cell Phone Banking

The other day I was riding in the elevator when a co-worker asked, "what's your new role?" My now standard response is, "Mobile banking...(then I pause and wait for a confused look on their face and follow with)...it's basically online banking on a cell phone."

That's when it occurred to me - why is it called Mobile Banking. Why isn't it called cell phone banking?

Now, I know that technically there are smart phones, cell phones, PDA's and pocket PC's which are all (Mobile Devices) but truthfully the only people that really use those terms are the handset manufacturers. I would never leave someone a voicemail and say - call me on my mobile. Nor would I say - call me on my smart phone.

So my questions are:
* Where did the term "Mobile Banking" come from and is it appropriate for the U.S.?
* Could this unfamiliar term be negatively affecting adoption?

I have not been able to confirm my hunch, but I'm guessing that the source of the phrase comes from overseas where people use the generic term "mobile" to refer to the same device that we call our "cell phone."

Thoughts??

3 comments:

Andrea said...

Hi Brandon, "Mobile" is actually a standard international jargon to indicate cell phones. Each country has its own declination, in Italy we call them "cell phones", in France "portable", M.E. and Asia use the term "Mobile". "Mobile" or "Mob." is pretty common also on business cards: What do you have on yours? Actually there are some funnies about mobile banking (have a look at ABN Amro mobile banking concept history here http://www.abnamro.com/com/about/history/themes/objects/mobile_branches.jsp)
Anyway the answer to your question is: Yes, overseas, e.g. outside US, the term "mobile" designates the cell phone, and mobile banking stems from it.

brandon@bmcgee.com said...

Andrea, thank you so much for the comment. I'll check out the abnamro site.

Lazer_Blue said...

Hey Brandon, ... and in Germany they call them Handy's.
However, you have hit a pet peeve of mine. Certainly the term cell phone is prevalent in Canada as well.
We should redefine the term mobile banking as it relates to cell phones. When we refer to it as mobile banking we refer to using the cell phone whereas the term "personal mobility" is what the banks should strive for. Personal Mobility is defined as the ability for a consumer to have access to their banking services regardless of where they are or what time of the day it is. This means that the customer has a seamless user experience whether they are at a branch, at an ATM, telephone banking,the web or the mobile phone. The mobile (cell) phone merely extends personal mobility as it is yet another albeit more convenient access point.My bet is that we will still call it mobile banking though...

Jason Hurlbut
CPNI