Home / Future / Mobile banking and PFM is so last decade

Mobile banking and PFM is so last decade

Another conference focused upon financial innovation today, and all the talk is about mobile stuff, Google Wallets, mobile stuff, Banksimple, mobile stuff and Movenbank.

I’m regularly stressing today that we must::

  1. stop talking about mobile; and
  2. talk about the point-of-life.

First, stop talking about mobile stuff.

The fixation with mobile is because it’s finally come of age, as has Personal Financial Management (PFM).

Now it’s come of age, all the banks and providers of services to banks are leaping into these two buckets head first and swimming deep in the water.

Give it five years and they’ll be swimming in the next water.

And that water is not mobile and PFM, but connectivity and SFM.


Connectivity is the realisation that it’s not mobile we should be focused upon, but the chip in the mobile that enables it to connect to the network.  That chip is going to be in so many other devices in five years, that the consumer’s mobile wallet will no longer be relevant.  What will be relevant is how the chip connects to other chips to transact.

The consumer’s chip may be in their mobile telephone, but may just as easily be in their wristwatch, earring or clothing.  The consumer will choose how they wear their chip. It might even be embedded in a tooth.

The chip may enable telephone calls and communications, access to wireless electronic services and more, but will also be a fundamental transactor of commerce.

It will transact with chips in merchant stores; chips through QR and NFC; chips in walls, pavements and doors; chips in cars, caravans and casinos; chips in anything and everything in fact.

Some reckon there will be ten billion mobile connected devices in 2020. 

I reckon there will be more than one hundred billion wirelessly connected devices in 2020.

And with everything as a connected transaction engine, banks will be looking to leverage wireless connectivity at the point-of-life of their customers rather than thinking about mobile as a channel or device.

This leads to the second fundamental around the point-of-life and SFM.

SFM is Social Financial Management

PFM is already out-of-date. 

PFM talks about personal, as though it’s private, and yet everything has shifted to social, as in sharing.

Sharing financial information is not what consumers want, but they do want banks to be part of their lives rather than the bane of their lives.

What this really means is that banks must proactively leverage far more about their customer’s data to intimately understand their lifestyle preferences and shopping habits to become more relevant.

It means taking Big Data and mining it deeply to gain Big Ideas about customer needs and then proactively reaching out to the customer to gain Big Relationships.

Examples are already out there, such as the new video for Google Wallet that demonstrates coupon offers and spending integrated with payments and transactions.

What this is really showing is that Google will be analysing the data from the digital footprints of each individual to provide relevant offers at their point-of-life:

  • using geolocation allows you to locate where the individual is physically present;
  • using that location allows you to automate contextual offers proactively to the individual;
  • using data allows you to make sure the offers are both relevant and not in breach of permissions and privacy; and
  • using the combination of banking, retailing, searches and devices allows the operator to integrate spending and saving with shopping and living.

And that’s the point-of-life (not the meaning of life, another story).

It’s the point of where I’m living at that moment in time and being relevant to that point-of-life.

That’s what SFM will be all about, and that’s what banks will be focused upon in the next wave of implementing stuff.

Being relevant at the point-of-life through wireless contextual connected devices, rather than mobile and PFM.



In August 2011, EFMA published a report after surveying 150 European banks with McKinsey on mobile banking.

Their findings are that banks believe mobile will fundamentally change retail banking within five years, and yet the majority have under ten employees working on mobile and have yet to make any change in their operations to exploit this capability.  Although most have mobile web and apps under way, they have made no significant commitment to this service.

Download their report here.

Sad to say that I'm already on the next generation of banking whilst most banks are yet to catch up with the one that's already over.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, 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...

Check Also

Today is Money Rebellion Day

The climate activists of Extinction Rebellion expanded recently into a Money Rebellion, as I blogged …