News & Views - Savantor

M-payments needs a clear message

Friday, 29 July 2011

Over 141 million people around the world will use their mobile phones to make payments this year, up 38% on 2010, yet the market is actually growing slower than expected, according to a report from Gartner. The report says that m-payment volume is forecast to increase 76% year-on-year to $86.1 billion, which contrasts with a claim made last month by Juniper Research which predicted that the total value of mobile payments this year would be $240 billion.  A significant difference in forecasts for a year that is half over. The report also indicated that significant barriers are holding back adoption in both the developing and developed worlds.  Standards and security issues may well be seen by many as key issues to resolve but changing consumer behaviour and reducing confusion are also important.

Despite the changes in behaviour already made in getting consumers to see mobiles as something more than phones, getting them to use it for payment is perhaps a more significant step than many believe.  What has happened recently in the payments world isn’t exactly reducing confusion.  First we’re going to remove cheques then we’re not, but we are taking away the cheque guarantee system.  We put great emphasis on PIN protection and then say for contactless cards we don’t need it.  But we say that after 3 contactless transaction you must then do a chip and PIN transaction but don’t make it clear what happens after 3 transactions with an NFC mobile.  Will the payment app have an expiry date as cards do?  No doubt these are all easily solvable by the industry as technical issues but getting the message across to the consumer will be the real test.

Setting an end date for cheques when the system would probably have died a natural death anyway may not have been the best idea so let’s learn from the consumer backlash there and get clear messages out to consumers about how m-payments can work without making it sound like a fait accompli that cash is dead because that’s the one way to make sure that it isn’t!

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