While industry pundits may be lamenting the lack of NFC functionality in the iPhone 5, traditional mobile banking is going strong regardless of what Apple is doing with its smartphone.
In Australia alone, seven million people are opting for mobile banking over traditional brick and mortar banking.
Recent research by Suncorp has found that Australians will spend approximately $16 billion on Internet shopping this year alone, which is an increase of $2.4 billion from 2011.
According to Suncorp Bank executive manager, Craig Fenwick, the shift from online shopping on computers to shopping on the move using our smartphones has meant that 13.6 million Australians have greater flexibility to buy what they want, when they want and where they want.
“No longer do we need to be confined to our computers, we can shop on the bus, at the beach or in the lounge room at any time,” he said.
Fenwick adds that Australian retailers are capitalising on this trend by creating applications that worked with smartphones and media tablets.
The mobile bank
This increasing amount of online retail sales is driven by smartphone usage, with Fenwick highlighting that 32 per cent of Australians making use of online banking.
“Mobile banking is fast becoming the new norm, with seven million Australians opting for a mobile bank wallet rather than a leather one,” he said.
With 57 per cent of Australian online shoppers increasing their level of spending via mobile devices over the last 12 months, Fenwick expects the trend to continue.
“2012 will mark the year that smartphones came of age as a banking tool,” he said.
Time for tablet
Since its launch in December 2011, Suncorp Bank’s own banking app has been downloaded 47,000 times by iOS users and 26,000 times by Android users, with Fenwick saying that “customers are logging on from everywhere.”
“Last month alone our internet banking users logged on more than 4.5 million times, completing their banking from Brisbane to Bangkok and Auckland to Adelaide,” he said.
While Australians may have been quick to adopt online shopping and banking on smartphones, the picture is different when it comes to tablets, with Fenwick admitting that shopping on a tablet device is "still in its infancy."
“Currently internet banking on tablets represents eight per cent but is expected to grow over the next 12 months as a greater range of tablet devices, such as the iPad mini, come onto the market,” he said.
Currently, the top task carried our by smartphone users is checking account balances or recent transactions, followed by transferring money to friends and family, and paying bills.