With over 5 billion mobile phones users globally (vs. only 2 billion who have credit cards), mobile payments are poised to eclipse all traditional forms of payment.
While this technology has been around for nearly a decade, it is only recently that mobile payments have emerged as the ‘next killer app’.
GP Bullhound, the Technology Investment Bank, yesterday organised a breakfast roundtable to discuss the future of mobile payments. After an introduction by Julien Oussadon and Amanjit Dhami from GP Bullhound the attendees were treated to an in-depth talk given by James Patmore – Managing Director, EMEA, of boku, one of the leaders in the mobile payments industry.
The rise of social networks in the western world, alongside the popularity of online, social and casual games has created a large and growing opportunity in the mobile payments space. Furthermore, the proliferation of mobile across the emerging world has also led to the uptake of peer-to-peer mobile payments services. These markets are skipping a payment generation and aligning themselves with the Western world. It seems that, due to this new model, everybody is trying to get involved from mobile ad network InMobi’s SmartPay solution to Visa’s hotly anticipated mobile payment service.
As James Patmore commented, mobile payments are ideal for those without credit or debit cards. Surprisingly, credit/debit card penetration is still low even in Western Europe whereas there are 5 billion mobile phone users globally. They also provide a more immediate means of payment, allowing users to transact at the point of purchase decision.
James Patmore added “m-commerce will eventually supersede all other forms of payment from cash to credit cards and is potentially a trillion dollar industry”.