Commentary

Mobile Payments Keep Growing And Growing

This year, the transaction value of mobile, online, and contactless payments will hit $3.6 trillion -- up a fifth from $3 trillion, last year.

That’s according to a new forecast from Juniper Research, which attributes the growth to further scaling up of infrastructure rollout and increased card payment limits in key markets.

Mobile wallet adoption will continue to accelerate in developing markets, Juniper expects. Presently, nearly 20 countries across Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa already have more mobile money accounts than bank accounts.

As wallet users reach a critical mass in these markets, service providers are introducing more sophisticated payment services such as loans and micro-insurance, thereby hastening the drive toward financial inclusion of those who don't use banks.

And while cards will account for 90% of contactless payments over the next five years, the deployment of near-field communications payments by high-profile players like Apple and Samsung will increase consumer awareness and usage of smartphones to fulfill transactions, Juniper predicts.

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The research also notes the growing presence of social media companies in the e-tail space, including Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Each has already added "buy" buttons to their platforms, which let users make purchases directly from their mobile apps.

Digital ecommerce on social media activity will increasingly extend into the person-to-Person (P2P) payments space, Juniper expects. China’s WeChat, for example, saw more than 32 billion "red envelope" monetary gifts sent in a six-day period in February.

“Facebook has already rolled out a P2P service linked to its Messenger service in the U.S., and we would expect additional deployments in other core markets over the next year or so,” Dr. Windsor Holden, the report’s lead author, notes.

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