Challenges of Nigeria Mobile Banking

Mobile Banking refers to provision of banking and financial sets with the help of mobile telecommunication devices. The scope of offered sets may include facilities to conduct bank and stock market transactions, to administer accounts and to access customized information. Also known as M-Banking in Nigeria or in some instances SMS Banking etc. It is a term used for performing balance checks, account transactions, payments and others transaction sets via a mobile devices. Some mobile Banking applications in Nigeria use pre programmed configurations settings.

Mobile Banking in Nigeria started from the transaction based activities whereby Bank customers are Notified via sms when transactions are conducted on their account or via Atm. This is a one way event and only for informational purposes only. GT Bank was on of the earliest edges to provision this service to customers.

That was the early days on Mobile Banking in Nigeria. Nigerian edges are now deploying complete fledge banking via the Mobile Phones with range of sets which were only possible in the Banking Halls before. Zenith Bank, UBA , GTBank, Diamond and Intercontinental edges are the fore runners of this innovation.

Despite the watch and see attitude that some very leading edges are taking about Mobile Banking in Nigeria, The mobile remains the Only and most obtainable possible method to provide mass market different to Branch Banking in Nigeria. The internet has only a penetration rate of 6 percent in a population of 140 million but mobile technology is close to 50 percent penetration with prospects for growth.

Mobile devices are the most promising way to reach the masses and to create a tie-in among current customers, due to their ability to provide sets anytime, anywhere, high rate of penetration and possible to grow. Deployment of 3G in coming months will also permit edges to offer more strong Mobile Banking technologies.

meaningful challenges in developing a complex mobile banking application are Interoperability. The single reason for is the manner in which mobile phone applications evolved over time, device manufacturers focused on particular standard and and this led to a proliferation of applications. The Financial Regulator CBN should look in this issue at this early stage so that Mobile Banking ecosystem can be strong with National standard that cuts across all edges. Bank specific Mobile Banking platforms is akin to having each bank deploying its own ATM Technology which other bank customers cannot access.

Interoperability can also help to evolve a standard that will permit low end phones which are currently excluded, to do Mobile Banking. Some countries like India and South Africa are already using some standards like R-World and USSD.

Application dispensing for Mobile Banking is another area where some edges are facing Challenges. While some forward looking edges are overhauling their gateways and reducing their reliance on Mobile Operators settings to permit customer’s phones, Some edges are truly asking that Customers come with regular Operator settings which in many instances might not be correct configurations settings..

Operator settings are not really meant for basic operations since most of the settings are used for entertainment based activities. Nigerian edges that are looking at competing at this sector must look beyond operators settings which might not be correct, delayed in arrival,may not come at all and not regularly updated. Some Mobile operators do update like every three months while some do not at all. For wap and Gprs based Mobile Banking applications, mobile network coverage will also be an issue.

As part of their marketing strategies, I will expect that by now, customers do not need to visit local Branches to download Banking applications. Over-the-Air (OTA) Settings should be freely obtainable online and some innovations can already come to play by edges deploying Bluetooth application machines in Shopping malls and some strategic places where customers can visit and download Mobile Banking applications for free or for a fee..This will increase the addressable market of the edges offering Mobile Banking exponentially in Nigeria.

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