Banking apps on the Apple Watch, other smartphones are growing in popularity

New data from Juniper Research finds that the global number of banking apps accessed via smartwatches will reach the 10 million mark in 2017, rising to more than 100 million by 2020.

The research found that the use of smartwatches to access “push” banking information services has been steadily gaining traction over the past 12 months. A number of global banks have launched apps for the wrist, while the launch of Apple Watch in April 2015 further accelerated the demand for wearable banking apps, according to Juniper Research.

However, the research group notes that while wearable based banking information services has emerged as a key trend, it’s currently perceived by many folks as a “gimmick.” Juniper believes that while wearables, including smartwatches and glasses, aren’t suited for conducting complicated financial instructions, wrist-based wearables will become a key device for multi-factor authentication — for banking transaction approval in the future.

“Digital banking has experienced a substantial progression towards personalized computing,” says Nitin Bhas, author of the Juniper Research report. “We do believe that, keeping pace with technology evolution, wearable banking will witness a faster adoption rate than mobile banking especially amongst millennials.”

The research also observed that although banks have introduced a number of innovative new services in the space, such as AR (augmented reality) banking apps and a cashless money box, these generally have a short life span with the consumers. Juniper believes that banks and financial institutions will need to offer customers more targeted services, aimed at specific user needs. This will be enabled through customer analytics and big data management platforms from vendors such as Oracle, Infosys, Fiserv and SAP.

Other key findings include:

  • Juniper estimates that the global mobile banking user base will reach two billion by 2020, representing 37 percent of the global adult population.
  • SMS based push banking services are on the decline with banks noting a decline in average number of messages sent to mobile banking users.