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EDITOR’S BLOG 24-07-15 Making m-payments invisible

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Hello and Happy Friday! Hot on the heels of last week’s splurge on Apple Pay launching in the UK, MasterCard – one of the earliest adopters of Apple Pay – is pushing the notion of mobile payments further with a survey that suggests that there is a real keenness for mobile payments in the UK.

But in many ways this misses the true potential of what mobile payments can be. If mobile payments is a success, then no one will know they are using them.

According to MasterCard’s study, 25% of UK mobile users plan to make a mobile payment in the coming year. But most don’t want to link their bank account to their phone nor do they want to charge things to their phone, preferring to assign a card to it as per Apple Pay. Their main worry being security.

But this isn’t really what’s interesting here. What is interesting is that 75% of people aren’t going to do mobile payments. Or so they think. What is likely to happen is that they will but they sort of won’t know they are doing it.

Mobile payments, especially if done using charge to mobile, but other technologies also let it happen, has one key USP: its frictionless. The thing that will drive the use of any kind of m-payments is that it will make paying easy. And by doing that it will be something that the user hardly knows they are doing.

This is perhaps why research by Future Market Insights (FMI) predicts that m-payments are going to grow by nearly 40% in the next five years.This growth, it believes, will be driven by convenience purchases such as ticketing and top-ups (and money transfers) rather than in buying stuff. And I think this is spot on. Most m-payments will be convenience purchases that are spontaneous and for use on the phone on the go.

They will be quick and seamless and most users won’t really know they are making them – not in a bad “let’s get straight onto PPP, I’ve been framed” kind of a way, more in a “I want it I buy it I use it I’m happy” kind of a way.

And this is going to be the playground for charge to mobile as it is frictionless. This is where the real growth will come. Sure people will use Apple Pay, but its more an extension of your bank and your bank card. True mobile payments that use the mobile will be buried everywhere and will be propelled by convenience.

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