More than 150 million mobile phone subscribers worldwide will carry out banking transactions on their handsets within three years.

That’s the prediction of a Juniper Research report, which also expects that much of the growth in this area to come from mature markets.

The analysts believe this will be down to users coming to rely on mobile banking rather than adoption in emerging markets where financial services are lacking.

However, Howard Wilcox, a Juniper analyst, warns that security will be paramount to the continued success of the service.

He said user perception will largely dictate whether the service is trusted, regardless of the reality of the strength of the security.

Wilcox said that mobile banking is currently most advanced in the Far East, but there are growing numbers of mobile banking services being offered in North America and Western Europe.

The developed nations of the Far East, North America and Western Europe are forecast to account for over 70 per cent of the mobile banking user base by 2011.

"Transactional or "push" mobile banking is being offered increasingly by banks via downloadable applications or the mobile web, complementing existing SMS messaging services for balance and simple information enquiries," he said.

"Mobile banking is a key element in banks’ distribution channel strategies as they compete to attract and retain customers."

The Juniper report said a key element to the service’s growth in mature economies is the extra user convenience afforded.

With many mature markets approaching, or already having exceeded 100 per cent capacity, mobile banking is an addition to the wide choice of applications and services accessible via the handset to make life easier, especially via smartphones such as the iPhone.

Do you use your smartphone for banking transactions? We would be interested in hearing your experience of mobile banking services.

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