Mobile payments – simply using your mobile to pay for something – is relatively new but already one of the fast growing alternative payment methods catching on in Europe and Asia. Juniper Researchers estimate that mobile payments in the combined global market is forecast to reach over $600 billion worldwide by 2013. What do mobile payments mean in real terms and what options are already out there?
By 2013, according to Juniper Researchers, this type of payment in the global combined payments market could grow from its current $170 billion to over $600 billion. So what are mobile payments and what are the options? There are four primary methods for mobile payments :
Direct Mobile Billing is used as an option at checkout on e-commerce sites involving a PIN and a password. It is deemed secure, fast, convenient and much easier to use than online payment methods such as PayPal. This method is very popular in many parts of Asia and the preferred method of payment for purchases with digital content.
Mobile Web Payments (WAP) where the user has already downloaded applications onto their mobiles to enable payment to be made. Again this method is reportedly easy to use with high reported follow-on sales and good customer reviews.
Premium SMS based payments can be made when the user sends their payment request via SMS text message or they can use a short code and a premium charge is then added to their phone bill. The payment information is then relayed back to the retailer and the sale is completed. This type of payment can be time-consuming if the text messaging speed is slow to send and this method is a less popular option than mobile web payments and direct mobile billing.
Contactless Near Field Communication (NFC) is used by a consumer with a mobile equipped with smartcard waves near a reader module and can be used in actual stores or for transportation services. The payment can be then deducted from a pre-paid account, bank account or charged to the mobile bill. Whilst popular in Japan this method of mobile payment requires a complex supporting infrastructure. This is probably the least popular method in global terms.