LONDON: Mobile commerce and banking are set to witness a surge in uptake among UK consumers, a study has argued.

Monitise and the Future Foundation interviewed 1,000 adults, and spoke with an additional 279 individuals who use wireless handsets for financial purposes.

Overall, it was estimated the number of people who managed their money in this way has nearly doubled in just two years, reaching almost 10% at present.

This figure is anticipated to hit at least 50% in the "next few years" due to the rising use of 3G networks, smartphones and the burgeoning popularity of apps.

Further contributors supporting such a process will be the growth of Near Field Communications, or "tap and go" payment systems.

Location-based deals and offers, as pursued by Foursquare and Facebook Places, should play a parallel role, alongside a range of new shopping, transport, ticketing and entertainment services.

Where participants already used mobile banking tools, 57% had increased such activity across the last year, and 68% believed it was easier to do so in this way than via the internet.

Another 70% of this audience were found to be "very keen" on making purchases through their handset, the report revealed.

Early adopters also tended to interact with their bank more frequently than the average customer, with mobile phones responsible for a rising number of engagements, at the expense of visiting branches and contacting call centres.

"The fact that more than half of Britons are expected to be using Mobile Money services in the next few years compared to one in 20 two years ago demonstrates an exceptional rate of growth," said Alastair Lukies, ceo, Monitise.

"Mobile banking has truly come of age as people no longer see the ability to effectively manage their finances by mobile as a novelty or a 'nice to have' but increasingly as the norm."

One key factor which could stimulate these trends is the pursuit of "simple complexity" on the part of companies in the sector, allowing consumers to undertake complicated tasks "easily and intuitively".

In an example of what this may involve, intuitive and smooth-running smartphone apps were viewed as preferable to SMS among potential tools.

An understanding of the context mobile commerce and banking are fulfilled in is also vital, as users are not always on the move while utilising handsets.

"Many mobile money activities, including bill payments, balance transfers and checks, actually happen at home, despite the presence of a broadband-connected computer in the household," the study said.

Data sourced from Monitise; additional content by Warc staff