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Mobile finance a hit in Asia - TNS study

Veronica C. Silva | June 9, 2011
Mobile banking and mobile wallet are the most common applications used.

For a region with billions of mobile devices, expect their users to also lead in mobile finance adoption.

A recent study by TNS revealed that Asia is leading worldwide in mobile finance adoption, notably for application and service such as mobile banking and mobile wallet.

The recently released TNS Mobile Life 2011 report showed that South Korea is leading in mobile finance adoption followed by Singapore. In South Korea, the percentage of users using their mobile phones to do mobile finance activities reached 38.5 per cent compared to 32.6 per cent in Singapore.

Hong Kong (30 per cent) and Malaysia (25.4 per cent) also ranked higher than the US (21.9 per cent) and other European countries.

Some of the mobile banking activities users do on their mobile phones include checking their bank accounts, transferring money between accounts, paying bills and buying goods and services.

Banking services

"Singapore and the developed Asian countries, in general, are some of the most advanced countries in terms of using mobile banking. Singaporeans are increasingly using their mobile phones to perform banking transactions, anytime anywhere, at their own convenience," said James Fergusson, managing director, global technology sector, TNS.

"In Singapore, major financial institutions such as Citibank, DBS and Standard Chartered, have developed mobile finance applications for Singaporeans who demand financial services via their mobile phones. We are also increasingly seeing people access other more sophisticated financial services on their mobile phones such as trading of stocks and shares."

Asians are also adopters of the mobile wallet, which allows the mobile phone to load up and store money. In South Korea, 21.5 per cent of the mobile phone users said they use their phones as mobile wallet compared to 20.9 per cent in China and 17 per cent in Hong Kong.

"The mobile phone is becoming the one essential device that everyone brings with them. The tap-and-go convenience of being able to pay for goods and services with their mobile phones is becoming increasingly attractive and could soon replace credit cards and stored value cards that are currently in the market," said Fergusson. "With near field communication (NFC) technology on phones, we are increasingly seeing this practice becoming reality."

Worldwide use

Worldwide, the use of mobile finance increased compared to last year as the infrastructure for mobile finance gets an upgrade. 

Explained Fergusson: "The necessity, marked interest and the blossoming mobile finance infrastructure means that countries such as Brazil and China have the right ingredients to drive mobile finance growth, not just in their own markets, but globally as well."

For China, the percentage of mobile phone users doing mobile banking increased by 25 per cent last year compared to only 10 per cent the previous year. TNS said this trend means there is an opportunity for companies to reach out more to their customers.

The TNS Mobile Life 2011 is the sixth annual study. This year's report involved interviews with more than 34,000 respondents in 43 countries.


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