Telefónica Deutschland has become the latest European mobile operator to wade into the financial services sector with the launch of O2 Banking in cooperation with the Germany-based Fidor Bank.
The O2 Banking app can now be downloaded onto Android and iOS smartphones via Google Play and Apple App Store. The mobile operator is also offering incentives such as free mobile data of up to 500 MB to customers depending on their use.
Early birds also receive a one-off bonus of 1 GB for opening an account as well as for their first transaction with their free Debit MasterCard.
Markus Haas, COO at Telefónica Deutschland, claims that O2 Banking "is setting the standard for the mobile bank account of the future", and has promised optimal usability as well as full transparency of services and fees.
The app, which Telefónica Deutschland is claiming as the "first mobile-only bank account by a mobile provider", certainly reflects the growing preference for banking via smartphones and tablets.
Indeed, a new report from the British Bankers Association (BBA) -- the trade association for the UK banking sector -- revealed that customers increasingly prefer to use mobile banking apps as opposed to bank online sites.
New figures in the report show that Internet banking logins fell slightly last year -- to 4.3 million a day in 2015 compared with 4.4 million in 2014 -- while mobile device apps were used 11 million times a day in 2015, up from 7 million a day in 2014. That's equivalent to 7,610 times a minute, BBA added.
Overall, the third annual issue of The Way We Bank Now report, which is also supported by Ernst & Young (EY), shows a sharp increase in consumers using digital banking and new technologies to manage their money.
"The use of phone, Internet and mobile banking have all increased in recent years, with customers now having more contact with their banks than ever before," the report observed.
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