Mobile banking is increasingly gaining foothold in the US and UK markets surpassing both branch and telephone banking in terms of popularity, according to a consumer research released by mobile transaction network mBlox. The US/UK research was carried out by global research company OnePoll between March 15-18, 2010.

According to the research, almost 25% and 37% of mobile phone users in US and UK have adopted mobile banking services.

When asked which banking method users preferred, respondents found mobile banking more convenient and easier to use than telephone banking (voice and touchtone) by a margin of 3 to 1 in the US and by a 1% margin in the UK.

Conversely, when asked about branch banking, fewer respondents selected it as their favorite method of banking, with only 2% in the US and 3% in the UK choosing it as their preferred method.

Research revealed that 52% and 46% in US and UK have rated the ability to ‘access banking services anywhere, at any time’, as well as ‘convenience’ and ‘time-saving’ are the major benifits of the mobile banking service.

The research also identified the services consumers are most interested in using on their mobile phones. In both countries, respondents rated as their top four services: daily balance notifications; suspicious activity notifications; fraud alert notifications; and low balance, overdraft, and credit limit notifications. US respondents also cited as a key service the ability to transfer funds between accounts, while UK respondents favored the ability to view statements and transaction history.

However, the research highlighted two factors that may be slowing down the growth of mobile banking services. These top two reservations were identified by respondents as ‘security’ (33% in the US and 49% in the UK) and ‘cost’ (31% in both the US and UK).

Andrew Dark, CEO of mBlox, said: “It’s clear from the findings of this survey that consumer behavior is shifting to adopt the capabilities afforded by mobile banking. We are seeing strong interest in the mobile sector from a wide variety of industries including transportation, retail, marketing and entertainment, which shows there is an opportunity for financial services to benefit from this increasingly popular channel.

“We understand that security will be a consumer concern with any banking service. For this reason, mBlox continues to invest significant sums in its data centers, processes and networks to ensure that it is on par with the latest financial security standards.

“With regards to cost, SMS is an inherently cost-effective solution for the transmission of information, with minimal or no cost to the end user. Our ability to facilitate the safety and integrity of consumer’s financial information is paramount and is what sets us apart from our competitors. The industry needs to work together to educate users to the secure and cost-effective nature of mobile banking services and we at mBlox intend to lead in this respect.”

Soren Bested, managing director of Monitise Americas, an mBlox partner providing mobile banking and payment services to North American financial institutions, said: “Consumers today want real-time, round-the-clock access to their finances and are demanding a higher level of convenience for managing such information.

“It’s no surprise that the ‘anywhere, anytime’ aspect of mobile banking was one of the greatest benefits found in the mBlox research, and we see SMS as a key ingredient in providing that convenience factor. Whether it be requesting an account balance or receiving a text alert notifying consumers of activity on their account, SMS provides a method of financial control. We’re delighted to partner with mBlox to deliver high-quality, reliable, and secure mobile messaging to our customers.”