Mobile banking essential, UK banks warned

Speaking at the first demonstration of the Finance Mobility Platform (FMP) technology, co-hosted by Compaq and Microsoft, Mike Smith, practice principal for mobile finance with Compaq, explained that mobile banking is the key to retaining customers, but warned financial services companies that implementing a mobile offering poses business as well as technological issues.

Smith said; "Financial services companies are facing an increasingly competitive future, and many are waking up to the fact that offering mobile banking to key customer segments - which includes high net worth individuals, small business customers and fashion conscious younger customers - will be key to reducing their customer churn."

The FMP showcase is a joint initiative by Compaq and Microsoft to develop a mobile solutions framework for the financial services industry. The FMP provides functionality to organisations wanting to take a lead in the mobile banking market.

The FMP includes applications for accessing financial services from wireless devices such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), laptops and mobile phones.

Mike Smith continued: "The FMP has been created to make designing and providing a mobile offering as easy as possible for financial services providers. It takes account of issues such as how to differentiate an offering from those of competitors, how to reduce and manage the risks around mobile platforms and - crucially - how to ensure that the ongoing support and managerial issues are dealt with effectively."

David Slight, industry manager for financial services at Microsoft, said: "What is so compelling about the mobile Internet is that it enables users to access their data and communicate when the opportunity presents itself, re-capturing the dead time that fills our days. Customers now expect access to their financial information at any time, from anywhere, and the challenge to financial services organisations is to provide the right services, at the right time, to the right devices.