The introduction of the smartphone has created a seismic shift in how consumers bank, purchase, and interface with institutions. Australia is one of the countries that has moved to the head of the pack in the use of smartphone technology as more and more Australians embrace smartphone banking and the ease of use that it gives consumers during financial transactions.
Instead of carrying numerous credit cards, notes with routing numbers, and cash for purchases-smartphone users in Australia are actively changing their purchasing and spending habits. Consumers are purchasing goods in growing numbers with their smartphones, transferring funds, and connecting with their financial service providers via their smartphone.
Finance is changing and it’s not just the usage of phones that’s changing our money relationship, we’re also changing what we consider currency. Bitcoin is a great example of that so are Paypal, Chase Easy Pay, and other forms of electronic money transfers.
It seems that cell phone carriers and the passage of time have managed to substantially decrease consumer discomfort with the idea of using their phone to manage financial transactions. But, perhaps the most compelling reason why smartphone usage and financial transaction usage is growing is the high level of convenience that a smartphone gives the user. Some examples of ease of use and convenience are the following:
- A customer is lying on the beach during the weekend. They wake up from a nap and then realize that they forgot to pay a bill. They get their phone and use the next 5 (or fewer) minutes to transfer funds to pay their bill. Happily, they’ve avoided getting charged a late fee.
- A group of friends are hanging out and one is short on funds. The friend borrows money from another person in the group, but transfers money to the lender immediately so that everything is ok and there is no lingering awkwardness about repaying the money.
- A family has just spent the last 45 minutes shopping at the grocery store. It has been a hectic day and once they reach the check out line they realize that they’ve forgotten their wallet on their dining room table. It’s ok though because they can use their phone to complete their purchases. All is not lost!
- Some friends are on vacation and they would prefer to bring as few credit cards as possible with them. They’ve checked ahead of the trip and know that they can manage paying their trip expenses with their smartphone. They leave all but one of their credit cards at home in a safe place. They have a great time on vacation and manage to pay the majority of heir expenses using their smartphone.
These are just a few examples of the convenience of smartphones and opportunity presented to both consumers and institutions as trust levels grow with this technology over time.
Observing Australian smartphone usage will give other countries guidance on what works and what doesn’t work in getting customers to buy into the technology. As encryption programs get stronger, and we move further away from the early days of this technology the more we will see customers switching to a more digitally focused financial life. Their smartphone (and their personal computers) will act as the gateways to managing these monthly transactions.
It is clear that the interface between smartphones and your money is becoming the a part of banking standards. The key to making this interface a comfortable and safe process for consumers is through constant education and assuring users that the technology is safe.
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