Mobile banking expected to soar

More and more, people are ready to go mobile with their banking needs whether their money is at one of the nation's largest banks or their neighborhood credit union.

Bypassing the advances of online banking, mobile banking lets customers check their accounts, pay bills, and conduct balance transfers on their cell phones and PDAs via the Internet and secure messaging technology. You may be checking out at the grocery store or picking up dry cleaning but you could also be paying the mortgage.

The growth of mobile banking in the United States is expected to be strong. Columbus Business First reported that 53 percent of banks are expected to launch mobile services within the next two years, according to a survey by Sybase 365. Cuinfosecurity.com, a site for the credit union information security community, said 1.5 million customers obtain bank information on their cell phones.

Last week E*TRADE Securities LLC announced a new integrated mobile software product that would give its customers wireless access to their accounts and many of the same interface, security trading, and banking features available on their desktops, available exclusively on BlackBerry® smartphones. Essentially, this move allows users to access real-time information and make transactions any time.

"E*TRADE customers are always on the go and are always looking for new ways to leverage technology in order to achieve their financial goals," said Michael Curcio, the company's managing director.

This effort coincides with a new IBM study called "Go mobile, grow," which found that almost 80 percent of customers prefer a service provider that gives them more choice in the applications and services available on their mobile device, as The Business Standard in India reported last week. The survey, which was produced by IBM's Institute for Business Value, determined that nearly 60 percent of consumers are interested in mobile banking. The market for these services is estimated to reach $80 billion by 2011 and the number of mobile Internet users is estimated to approach one billion, a 191-percent increase from 2006.

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