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Shaping the future of finance

Mobile really is the future of banking

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

I have often said that tracking the future is normally demonstrated
by tracking children's behaviours.  Kids are excited about the future.
They are desperately keen to rush headlong into the next week, month
and year. 

"I'm eight and three quarters"
"I'm twelve but think I look sixteen"
"I can't wait for my eighteenth birthday"

a result of this excitement about going forwards, many of the future
trends are activated by children first.  They then educate the adults
in how things work.  After all, we grown-ups are far more concerned
about no-one moving our cheese than trying to be older before our

In fact, most adults are running away from the future:
we don't like change, we want things to be routine and stable.  Kids
want things to be unpredictable and unstable.

So, track childrens behaviours to see the future.

were the first into chatrooms, with their own language, such as lol and
pos*.  Then they started txt msg so m&d hd 2 rd bks 2 c wt thy wr
syg**.   Now they use emoticons for everything :P

So I'm always
interested to read surveys of teen and childrens habits as I think it
will tell me a lot about the future of channels, branding, engagement
and learning how to market to the next generation customer.  It also
helps to see what our adult consumers might be being taught by their
children shortly.

The reason for mentioning all of this is that Habbo
has just produced a fascinating survey of kids. If you are not aware,
Habbo is a child-oriented  virtual world; a bit like a Second Life or
Entropia for tweenies.

To gain an insight into what those tweens (11-18 years old) think, Habbo
asked 58,480 people aged between 11 and 18 in over 31 countries across
Europe, America and Latin America about their internet habits during
October and November 2007, with the results released this week

The results are fascinating, and build on their first survey back in 2006.

  • 76% of tweens use instant messaging as their main method of staying in touch with friends online;
  • 72% have email accounts, but it is being used less and less;
  • email usage is primarily just for official communications with parents and employers;
  • 71% of tweens listen to music on their mobile, compared to only 38% in 2006;
  • 70% use their mobiles to take photos  and videos, compared to 59% in 2006;
  • 64% play games via the mobile, up from 50% in 2006;
  • surfing  the net, emailing and sending instant messages via mobile is commonly used by over a quarter of  teens;
  • 40% of teenagers do not view social networks as an  important part of their communication experience.

been aware of the declining email usage being replaced with text and
IM, but the idea of not finding Bebo, Facebook and such like of
importance surprised me.  But then it may be explained by the fact that
non-English speaking social network sites are still lacking, and
non-English speaking kids do not want to use English-speaking social
sites.  This means that more local language sites will rise in
importance and is why sites such as Vostu, a Facebook in Spanish and Portuguese, are of note.

Ah well, lo  siento, no ablo Espanol mon amigo's.

banks should think about IM and mobile more in this context.  Yes,
banks are doing lots of mobile payments and mobile banking trials and
roll-outs, but using this as a sales channel rather than a services
channel appears to be seriously underused and misunderstood today. 

within a few months or years, mum and dad will be learning these
technologies to keep in touch with little Johnny.  Therefore, mobile
communications will be possibly the most critical sales and services
channel of the future, rather than just a pilot or experiment.

Now you may think that this is the opposite of something I said a while ago, about mobile being rubbish.  But this commentary was about mobile being rubbish as things converge towards VOIP, and that point still holds true.


So banking of the near future will be mobile VOIP with IM, and a whole lot more and, interestingly, social networking is already moving to mobies. 

For example, according to this description of a brand new, not yet released or named, mobile based social networking tool: "it shows you everyone around you who has it installed on an iPhone. Users can scroll through
nearby users, and set filters for men, women or age ranges. If you find someone
interesting you can pull up their profile and ping them. If they respond you
can start a chat, on the phone or in person."

Maybe the future is here already.   


* LOL: Laugh Out Loud; POS: Parent Over Shoulder 

txt msg so m&d hd 2 rd bks 2 c wt thy wr syg = text messaging so
mum and dad had to read books to see what they were saying

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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