Banks have been in one way or another involved in various aspects of mobile commerce for some time.
Some of those activities have been behind the scenes, such as processing payments, and some have touched consumers, such as accepting mobile phone photos of checks for deposit.
But the future role of banks in mobile commerce may become more visible as they start to offer shopping services to their customers.
U.S. Bank in Minneapolis is working on an app for consumers to quickly purchase a product they see in a magazine, newspaper or TV or hear about on the radio. The bank sees itself as expert in payments and enabling commerce, as outlined in a story today in American Banker.
The idea is that a financial institution such as U.S. Bank would have features in its banking app where a consumer could be marketed to, allowing them to make a quick purchase without having to enter payment data, since the bank already has it.
One of the companies behind the move to mobile shopping via banks is Monitise, a technology company that enables mobile banking, which I wrote about last year (Banking Apps & the Move into Mobile Shopping).
The idea is to steer people using mobile banking apps into a marketplace situated inside the app, Lisa Stanton, president of Americas at Monitise, told me at the time.
She said that mobile banking customers use their banking app on average 26 times a month, making consumers who open apps almost daily attractive targets.
The obvious question is whether or how well a banking institution can become or act like a retailer.
The other key is whether mobile shoppers will be enticed to purchase products from inside their banking app, which may seem somewhat foreign to them.
As mobile baking continues to grow, mobile shopping may try to hitch a ride along some of those coattails.