When it comes to the latest discussion on mobile banking and mobile payments, the media has focused heavily on what Google is doing with its Wallet. According to an article posted on Banking Innovation by Cherian Abraham, director of mobile data at Data Concepts, much of this focus has stemmed from the success of Google’s other mobile initiatives such as the operating system Android, which has been estimated to be getting 550,000 activations every day and is slowly munching away at Apple’s share of the market. Google Wallet has partnered with some retailers and seems to be gaining momentum, but perhaps, not surprisingly, is having trouble finding issuing banks.
The banks so far are going with a close telecom competitor of Wallet called Isis. The potential reason? Well, it’s something that we’ve been talking about for a while here at Backbase. Banks are at a crossroads. If they don’t do something to hold onto the crucial, customer relationship, then their future viability comes into question. Everything hinges on this relationship and the suitors for customers have never been greater with other players having moved in like: Bank Simple, Movenbank, Paypal, etc.
The banks could just be betting that the carrier relationship will continue to be the most important one in the future of anything mobile-related – or they could be intentionally trying to keep a distance from Google, (or both). The only problem with these scenarios is that Google and upstarts like it have continually proven that it’s the customer who will make the choice in the end. It would be wise for banks to keep this in mind since, sooner or later, the only way to keep the customer happy is to give them what they want. It would probably be wiser, then, to focus on improving their overall banking systems so that they are ready to provide those services when the customer makes their choice.