The Rise of Mobile Banking
In the recent years, mobile technologies are becoming more common among the public around various countries in the world (Yousif, 2012; Lawuo, Mbasa & Mnyawi, 2013; Smutkupt, Krairit & Khang, 2012). Indeed, with the invention of high speed wireless internet connection technology (such as WiFi, 3G, WiMAX and so on), it can be observed that more and more consumers around the world had purchased and get familiarised with advanced smart mobile phone, such as Apple’s iPhone, Samsung’s Galaxy Note3 and Galaxy4 and so on (Chen, Hsu & Wu, 2012). In other words, more people now possess mobile phone with internet connectivity – and such trend is fast and powerful in changing the business landscape and lifestyle of people (Persaud & Azhar, 2012; Du, 2012; Awasthi & Sangle, 2013).
Technically speaking, mobile banking is referring to the system offering by banking or financial institutions that allow the customers to perform financial transaction through the use of mobile devices, such as tablets or smart phones (Lawuo, Mbasa & Mnyawi, 2013). Perhaps more specifically, as discussed within Rahmani, Tahvildari, Honarmand, Yousefi & Daghighi (2012), some of the main services offered in mobile banking system often include these: (i) the services to allow customers to obtain information pertaining to their accounts via mobile platform, (ii) the services to make purchase in certain stores, shopping centres or internet platform, (iii) the services to obtain information on the securities market, as well as on trading on the securities market via mobile platform, (iv) check and replace services, as well as (v) the services to pay bills through mobile phones form mobile banking.
Mobile Banking in China
From another perspective, it is also observed that online banking is becoming increasingly common in China in recent years, as more and more people had purchase mobile phones and have subscribed to the wireless internet services provided by various telecommunication companies in the nation. Such a situation is very different that the situations in just 10 years ago – when the mobile banking is still at the infancy age in China. Specifically, in early 2000s, Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Merchants Bank had started the collaboration to offer mobile banking services to the consumers – with a cheap going rate of RMB 0.10 per every successful transaction while zero charges for unsuccessful transactions (Laforet & Li, 2005).
After 10 years, the mobile banking services had boomed very fast in China as well as in other part of the world (particularly in several Asian countries such as Singapore and South Korea). Indeed, as per the estimation provided by Citibank, there are currently approximately one million mobile banking users in the country and it is possible for the mobile banking platform to attract 60,000 to 70,000 new users every month (Evans, 2013). Yet, in accordance to CNNIC report, it is estimated that the Chinese mobile payment market has a market size of RMB 120 billion in year 2012 – although that is based on the observation that mobile banking is only adopted by a minority of users (which is estimated around 7.1%) in China (Zhou, 2012). Overall, the statistics clearly shown that mobile banking has huge prospects in China – and the growth potential can be even greater in the future, given that the popularity of mobile banking platform is just picking up in the country.
Today, mobile banking in China enables users to access payment services including account inquiry, transference and bill payment. The four biggest state-owned banks in China, namely: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China Construction Bank (CCB), Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), and Bank of China (BOC); and also the private bank such as China Merchant Bank (CMB) have respectively developed their respective version of mobile banking system (Zhou, 2012).
Benefits of Mobile Banking
It would not be surprising to witness the fast rise of mobile banking service within the marketplace if anyone understood about the benefits offered by mobile banking services. Indeed, there are many benefits offered by mobile banking services for the consumers. According to Rahmani, Tahvildari, Honarmand, Yousefi & Daghighi (2012), there are five main benefits of mobile banking, as follow:
- As mobile phone is portable – it is possible for the uses to on their mobile devices and always stay connected to the internet, that can be crucial in enabling the users to get connected with crucial information related to the banking or financial industry, even when the users are traveling away from the town.
- As mobile phones nowadays are equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) system, it is possible to the mobile banking service provider to personalised services to the users – which means the possibility of delivery of value-added services to the users (based on their location).
- The mobile banking services offer tremendous convenience to the users. This is because the users need not need to be constraints by time or space to perform the desired financial transaction or activities that may be highly urgent or critical at a particular point of time.
- The advancement of the mobile technologies and platform now enable customisation so to developed greater ‘lifestyle’ tool that suit the needs of the users. In a way, the users can enjoy the mobile banking services based on their needs and preferences.
- The improvement and innovation on security of mobile phone now enable mobile banking service providers to specifically and carefully identify the identity of the users – which will enhance the safety or security from the use of mobile banking services.
Then, from the banking or financial institution perspective, mobile banking is often considered as an effective vehicle for improving the financial inclusion (that is, the delivery of cost effective financial services to the group of disadvantaged or low income segments of the society) and for cost-effective delivery of financial services (Ketkar, Shankar & Banwet, 2014). Aside from that, the advancement of the mobile banking services also allow mobile service providers to offer more personalised services, to enhance security of the mobile banking platform, to conduct target or ‘locationalised’ marketing, and to deliver highly customised platforms or tools for the different users – all of which will surely enhance the value delivered to the end users of mobile banking services (Rahmani, Tahvildari, Honarmand, Yousefi & Daghighi, 2012; Chen, 2013; Kweyu & Ngare, 2014), that can in turn contribute to both the financial and even non-financial performance of a bank.
Last but not least, it is also worthy to mention that the development and growth of mobile banking can add value to the society and economy of a nation. Specifically, the mobile banking services may have a potential to spur economic growth if consumers could understand the concept of mobile banking, its’ benefits and adopts it (Kweyu & Ngare, 2014).
Studies on Consumers’ Perceptions and Attitudes on Mobile Banking
Given the increasing popularity and proliferation of mobile banking, scholars had also conducted some research into the subject on how the consumers perceive mobile banking services offered by financial or banking institutions. In the following paragraphs, some of these studies will be presented and discussed. A review of these studies would offer useful information for the researcher to better understand how research into consumers’ perceptions on mobile banking had been carried out.
Consumers’ Perceptions and Attitudes on Mobile Banking
In the research by Laforet & Li (2005), the issues related to consumer behaviour, attitude, and motivation concerning the adoption of mobile banking services were examined. The study was carried out in China, and that respondents were selected from six major Chinese cities. From the research, it is found that Chinese online and mobile bank users were predominantly males, not necessarily young and highly educated. Then, according to the perceptions of the respondents, the issue of (perceived) security is the primary issues that may motivate or discourage the Chinese consumers from adopting the mobile banking services, or vice versa. Then, it is also found that those users that had used to the traditional cash-carry banking culture tend to perceive mobile banking as riskier, and that they generally have lack of awareness and understanding of the benefits provided by mobile banking.
Antecedents on Consumers’ Perceptions and Attitudes on Mobile Banking
While it is interesting to study about consumers’ or perceptions attitudes towards mobile banking, many scholars had also perceive that it is also crucial to study about the various factors or antecedents that can affect consumers’ perceptions and attitudes on mobile banking. Through such studies, it is possible to better understand how the different factors may affect both potential and existing mobile users’ perceptions and attitudes positively or negatively.
For instance, in Chen (2013), the influences of these factors: (i) diffusion and adopters of mobile banking services, (ii) perceived risk, (iii) brand awareness, and (iv) brand image of mobile banking service provider, on consumers’ attitudes towards adoption or the use of mobile banking services were examined. Through the use of questionnaires, it is found that the differences of behavioural patterns among the mobile banking users have significant impacts on their respective perceptions on benefits and risks pertaining to mobile banking. Then, the two powerful external antecedents that can influence users’ perceptions on mobile banking services include: brand awareness and brand image of the mobile banking service provider. Aside from that, it is also found within this study that the perceived risk upon mobile banking services can be classified into these different dimensions: financial risk, performance risk, time risk, psychological risk, and privacy risk.
Next, in Kweyu & Ngare (2014), the antecedents of consumers’ perceptions on mobile banking services in Kenya were examined. Through the use of factor analysis, it is found that both demographic factors and the individual consumers’ perception on mobile banking services have influences on the consumers’ eventual decisions to adopt mobile banking services.
Last but not least, in Awasthi & Sangle (2013), the relevancy and importance of various factors on how they impact mobile banking adoption intention was examined. Through the use of confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling, it is found that among the factors that influence mobile banking adoption intentions are: (i) perceptions of users on the benefits of mobile banking, (ii) perceptions of users on the values of mobile banking, (iii) users’ perceived usefulness of mobile banking, (iv) the contextual environment, (v) perceived security assurance, (vi) perceived trust, (vii) perceived cost and (viii) perceived risk are all critical elements or antecedents that significantly affect mobile banking adoption intention.
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