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EDITOR’S BLOG 17-07-15 Taking a bite from the poison apple

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Hello and Happy Friday! How was it for you? Has everything changed? Is the world a different place? I don’t feel any different: do you? Good. It seems then that the arrival of Apple Pay hasn’t caused too much disruption – well, not just yet.

The question is, however, what impact might it have in the coming months on the telemedia and charge to mobile sectors? The launch this week really centres on Apple Pay as an NFC contactless payments service and as such gets NFC well and truly on the radar. But, what has largely been overlooked is that, for now, its basically a micro-payment NFC offering, with a £20 cap (rising to £30 ‘later this year’) and so is pretty much not very useful for buying your shopping.

So where does this leave charge to mobile? The simple answer is that it’s in exactly the same place it was on Monday, except that its had a much needed shot in the arm. The publicity surrounding the launch of Apple Pay has done the marketing job that network operators, service providers and the industry in general has so far failed to do to get the idea of mobile micropayments in front of the public.

Apple may well have also done the same for NFC: as many commenters huffily pronounced this week (adopt whiney ‘it’s not fair’ voice): “NFC has been around for ages so this is nothing new”.

Oh but it is. What is new is that again, NFC as a mobile payment mechanism has garnered a ton of publicity that the payments and mobile industries had failed to deliver to the public convincingly previously.

Together these two things are significant for charge to mobile. Not only is mobile payments now acceptable in the public mind (well it will be: prior to Apple’s launch many people quizzed about it said they weren’t interested: they’ll change their minds you’ll see), but it will also get people used to frictionless, super convenient payments.

And this is what is going to be so good for charge to mobile. No, it won’t compete with Apple Pay (it won’t compete with any other payment mechanism: payments is about choice and the right mechanism for the job in hand), but with people so used to doing NFC payments with their phone, they will want that same level of convenience across all that they do.

So adding charge to mobile where appropriate gives people that choice and that ease of payment that they will, mark my words, crave.

Charge to mobile will also let all those many millions of people who don’t have an iPhone 6 play in the mobile payment space too, let’s not forget. Right now most people can’t use Apple Pay, nor will they be able to, so offering them the chance to be part of the mobile payments revolution is a selling point.

But herein lies the problem. The charge to mobile community has an ideal opportunity to get its products out there in front of millions of people who are now at least aware of mobile payments: you must now capitalise on this. Apple has opened the door, charge to mobile and all other mobile payment services now have to charge through it.

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