Mobile Payments & the Why to Pay vs. the How to Pay

by , Dec 5, 2013, 2:13 PM
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While mobile payment methods continue to proliferate, many consumers are, on their own, figuring how to spend money through a mobile device.

It may turn out that spending money from your phone may be less about using new payment methods and more about what the payment is for.

While awaiting the half billion mobile phones being shipped with NCF (Near Field Communication) technology built in next year, consumers continue to find ways to pay using their phones.

The ways to pay continue to increase, both by existing technologies being deployed as well as new technologies and partnerships being introduced. Here are just a couple of many examples:

  • Applebee’s is installing 100,000 tablets at restaurant tables so consumers can swipe their own cards and pay through the tablet, as I wrote about here yesterday (Tablets & Serving Restaurant Customers at 100,000 Tables).
  • MasterCard and internet service provider Web.com recently partnered to provide a payments gateway targeted at small businesses such as retail shops and service providers like plumbers and consultants who want to offer consumers the ability to use mobile payments for invoices or service fees at any time.

Even as the technical capabilities to pay via mobile are increasing, many consumers independently are working out ways to pay by smartphone and tablet.

For example, a third (33%) of visitors to fashion search engine ShopStyle.com used a smartphone or tablet to shop or purchase holiday gifts, according to the Popsugar Insights 2013 Holiday Shopping Report.

Other recent research has consistently shown that mobile purchases have increased substantially since last year.

As one more indicator of people who determined their why to pay figuring out the how to pay, PayPal found that charitable donations coming through mobile devices are up this year, as an understatement.

The number of mobile payments from last year increased 858% and the value of those donations increased 1,024%, with the largest mobile donation via PayPal at $5,000.

A recent study by Ovum found that half of consumers would not be using mobile payments in the coming year.

But many of those consumers likely will be figuring how to use their mobile devices to pay.

Mobile payments may come down to being less about the way to pay and more about the why to pay.

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