Sunday, November 18, 2007

Economist says that 2008 might be the year for m-payments

I picked up the 2008 edition of the Economist's magazine The World in... and one of the features in the business sector was Buying and celling by Tom Standage which looked at how NFC will start to gain traction.

One of the data points that gained my attention was a graphic that shows that only in the US the population has more access to cash machines than mobile phone.

I still think that mobile payments face a challenge in the UK and US where we are too reliant on credit cards rather than bank cards. For M-Payments to work they have to be a replacement of paper and coin based payment rather than an alternative to electronic fund transfers. If mobile networks start to try and compete with Banks then the Banks are going to ask that they are regulated in the same manner. However if the networks can replace micropayments of a value of less than say $20 then we can look to a rosy future.

I think that the introduction of M-Payments will also reap benefits for customer retention, the Networks will seek to establish a stronger relationship with its customers which will see them move from PAYG to Contract. Once the mobile phone has more functionality than just talk and text consumers will be less price sensitive. The functionality will not in my view be the Internet it has to be something more than just a window.

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