Talking point: Mobile payment debate rages on

Talking point: Mobile payment debate rages on

According to KPMG, mobile payments are set to hit £591bn by 2015. Businesses have been quick to respond to the trend with Google Wallet, Barclays’ Pingit and PayPal’s InStore app coming to the fore. However, despite numerous payment devices starting to appear on the market, a debate still rages as to the best route for the adoption of mobile payments.

The main question being asked is what is the best way to implement a streamlined operator billing solution that simplifies the purchasing process for the consumer and also expands pricing options for mobile web developers?

One research firm recently claimed that a mass market in mobile payments is still nearly a decade in the future. Forrester Research said there was still a host of complex issues to overcome before the service went mainstream, including hardware and software infrastructures, standardisation and consumer education.

Writing in NFC: What Lies Beyond Contactless Payments, analyst Thomas Husson said: ‘That prediction still holds despite numerous [industry] initiatives… We see NFC as merely a technology enabler for several types of mobile contactless services; we don’t believe the majority of consumers will use mobile contactless payments before the end of the decade, even in the most developed countries like Poland and the UK.’

However, according to KPMG, most believe mobile payments will be important to their company… eventually. The services firm revealed that 70% of the companies it surveyed said that mobile payments are either very important today or will be important in the future, with only 9% predicting they would have no impact in the foreseeable future.

Talking Point invites major players in the industry to discuss key issues of the moment. Keith Brown, MD at paythru, argues that varying solutions for mobile payments risk confusing customers and hindering wide-scale adoption.


As it stands, the mobile payments market is very fragmented: digital wallets, NFC and mobile apps are all designed to enable m-commerce. However, many of these have limitations. For example, NFC is only really intended for low-cost purchases and requires the customer to be present within the store, which essentially means it isn’t mobile in its true sense. Industry standards like the Payments Services Directive (PSD) already provide the blueprint for mobile payments; it’s up to businesses to make sure they agree on a clear and coherent offering to customers.

To take full advantage of emerging m-commerce channels, we need to provide open technology platforms that do not change existing behaviour or the payment methods (credit cards, debit cards) for customers and merchants alike. Above all, solutions need to be universal: available from any location, on any device (not just iPhone or Android), with any bank and over any network.

Security is also a big concern with mobile payments at the moment. The Google Wallet for one has suffered in the past, when it was found its accounts could be hacked into within minutes. While companies race to launch their latest mobile payments solution, paythru urges them to ensure that security is watertight for the benefit of the whole industry. Adhering to industry standards like PCI DSS is essential and compliance to Level 1 will make mobile payments as secure as the banks.

It’s clear to see that companies have leapt on to the mobile payments bandwagon without considering what’s most important: the customer. It seems every company is looking to become the dominant player in the market, resulting in too many offerings out there that lock out large groups of customers.

Rather than launching restrictive payment methods, we need to agree on mobile payment channels that deliver the best benefits to the consumer that anyone can use in a simple and intuitive manner.

Mobile payments should also be open and based on existing purchasing behaviour to encourage as many consumers as possible to adopt them.

Above all, the industry needs to focus on providing the best user experience possible to encourage repeat purchases. This will ultimately ensure the success of mobile payments. If the industry fails to do so and continues to fight and undercut one another, mobile payments will never become mainstream technology. With retailers in particular facing the death of the high street, they need to maximise on all channels available to them in order to survive.

Paythru simplifies mobile access to an entire spectrum of payments, so clients can implement payments as a strategic enabler of m-commerce, while customers can make payments anywhere, anytime.

Above all, paythru’s mobile solutions fully comply with the top finance industry standard PCI DSS Level 1, so organisations can deploy m-commerce and reduce the risk of payment fraud. We are totally agnostic. We work with any handset, any network, any bank, anywhere you can get a signal.

Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today

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