Worldwide mobile payment users to double in 2010

by CXOtoday Staff    Jun 21, 2010

The number of mobile payment users worldwide will exceed 108.6 million in 2010. According to Gartner, this is a 54.5 percent increase from 2009, when there were 70.2 million users. Even then, these mobile payment users will only represent 2.1 percent of all mobile users in 2010.

According to Gartner, there is strong growth in developing markets like Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa for mobile payment, while adoption in North America and Western Europe is lagging behind due to the multitude of choices of payment instruments that consumers have.

According to the Gartner analyst, the strong demand for mobile payment in developing markets is being driven by the unbanked and under-banked populations that do not have ready access to the banking infrastructure or PC. This has positioned mobile as the natural choice of access platform.

"The answer for developed markets, however, remains elusive. The offerings for developed markets will take a different format," said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner. "Instead of a point offering for mobile payment, the service needs to be built on top of the existing payment behavior and infrastructure so that users can choose any channel — retail, phone, online or mobile — that suits their context at the moment of payment," added Shen.

Asia/Pacific is the leading region with mobile payment users. In Asia/Pacific, mobile payment users will surpass 62.8 million in 2010, representing 2.6 percent of all mobile users. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), mobile payment users will total 27.1 million and represent 2.1 percent of all mobile users in the region. In North America, mobile payment users will number 3.5 million and represent 1.1 percent of all mobile users in the region.

At the same time, regulators in early-adopter markets are tightening up policies to provide better user protection and fight against unlawful financial activities relating to money transfer. Short Message Service (SMS) remains the dominant mobile payment technology.

Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)/Web can support either downloadable clients or mobile browsers. It is more frequently used by consumers in developed markets due to the higher penetration of data-capable phones and active data plans.

Many financial institutions have failed to see the business case of Near Field Communication (NFC) payment, in particular, which offers similar functionality to contactless cards but with the added complexity of dealing with mobile carriers and other ecosystem partners.