You're all busy people, so I'll save you the time reading through my first paragraph and give you the bottom line: mobile payments are here, are growing, and have the potential to kill all other payment services. BUT it won't happen the way you'd imagine, and there are many pitfalls along the way, yet there are many chances for success.
Phew! Now that I got this off my chest, I can start explaining.
Now is a better time than ever for mobile payments
Mobile payments are a huge opportunity. No, they're not going to replace your wallet anytime soon, but they can just as well pose a threat to any payment service that's out there. Why? Well, up until now mobile payments were a niche - mostly because there was no fertile ground for users to move from credit card to mobile. Standard eCommerce payments are the norm, most users are used to either punching in a card number and buying or using their Paypal account, and there was no crowd that will adopt an alternate method; that's before the challenging technical aspects in device security (more on that later).
So, what changed? In comes social gaming and virtual goods. Why? Because this crowd is more tech savvy, more appreciative of a streamlined-in-game purchasing experienced, more engaged, more used to his mobile device and above all - big enough to reach a tipping point. What's the outlook for mobile payments, then? With a delightful user experience and a broad enough user base, they are in the right position to start letting users sign up and add a financial instruments (right now - a credit card) to their account (ring a bell? It's called Zong+); they also have the perfect incentive system by the form of in-game virtual goods. Will that make them the payment option of the future? Is that so easy? Not necessarily. But I'm a bit ahead of myself.
What are the challenges for mobile payments?
- Operators: integration, regulation and fees
- Devices: technology and security
- Payments: interchange fees and fraud