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Every part of the mobile supply chain is getting in on the mobile payments act. This is being driven not by technology, but by a shift in consumer behavior.
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The GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona had a different buzz about it this year. Unconfirmed reports place attendance at 60,000. For the past five years people have been proclaiming that this is the year of mobile payments. But this year something had shifted. There was more business done on the stand, hands shaken on deals, and signed distribution contracts.
People were queuing up to see what is happening now. Every part of the mobile supply chain is trying to get in on the act, and there is a real scramble going on to win territory.
Handset manufacturers want to put mobile payment provision on their phones or tablets. Network operators and MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) want to offer secure payment options.
The banks have realised that mobile banking does not just mean bank statements sent on SMS. App developers are looking for ways of creating in-app payments that keep them on their site and lose them in the process, or that pay most of the purchase cost in commission to the app store. And just about everyone is waking up to the fact that the consumer is at the heart of this, not the technology.
The field has come a long way from the days when mobile payment meant reverse billing for micro-payments, done via your phone bill.
Consumers are starting to buy big stuff from devices that aren’t fixed Internet points. The iPhone and iPad have a lot to do with this, of course. Suddenly, buying something significant—whether it’s a flight or a the weekly shop—doesn’t seem like a ridiculous thing to do on a mobile device that now has a large, high definition screen.
Mobile payments of more than £1,000 are seen regularly in some systems, and M&S reported recently that a customer had bought two sofas worth £3,280 over a mobile phone.
Consumers will adopt mobile payments in the way they adopted internet payments if the way they can pay is familiar to them.
Credit or debit card payments are the way we all pay for our purchases now, so this should be replicated in a mobile payment. A long pre-registration process for every website will put off visitors from buying (and will turn away those ‘impulse’ buyers that mobile payments are driving).
For the first time, it seems that all the parts of the chain get this. The emphasis has moved away from pushing consumers into using overly complicated technologies or new payment mechanisms, and has gone back to basics. Pay with a credit or debit card, over any platform you like.
© Copyright Econsultancy.com Limited. [Source: The Scramble for Mobile Payments, Keith Brown, February 2011].
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