Cell Phone Instead of Cash – Mobile Payment on the Rise


© ItelliPay

Mobile payment services offer the chance to make cashless payments in retail via Smartphone. Since these services promise a convenient and easy way to shop, their breakthrough has been predicted for some time now. This year is finally supposed to be the year: a nationwide introduction of mobile payment services is expected in 2013.

The opportunities that retailers and consumers are opening up with these services are varied. So far, however, it is still not really clear which of the many mobile payment solutions – depending on the operating system and the special choices offered by common net carriers – will catch on. However, a certain market penetration and thus acceptance by customers is one of the most important prerequisites of success.

A current study by the TNS Infratest market research company on the German payment market, the ”TNS mPayment Sonar“ at the beginning of the year has shown that many customers as well as many retailers expect great things from the new mobile payment solutions.

Large potential target group for new solutions

Customers primarily care about new services such as bonus programs, price comparisons and smart shopping assistance. As the study by TNS Infratest shows, the target group is relatively large in this case and grows constantly. Forty percent of surveyed consumers are considered open-minded towards the new technology and are thus a potential target group. What’s more, more than a quarter of respondents assume that mobile payment will already become a relevant payment method for them personally in two years. Of the new payment procedures, wallet approaches in particular, meaning payments using a “digital wallet“ on the Smartphone, are very popular with proponents of mobile payments.

Robert A. Wieland, Managing Director at TNS Infratest sees great market potential for mobile payments against this backdrop:”The time for mobile payment methods has come. Consumers as well as companies today are very comfortable with digital media and are interested in these innovative approaches. However, the new payment procedures have to specifically serve the existing, but not yet sufficiently addressed needs of consumers and also those of companies.“

Just like the customers, retailers in particular also expect process relief from the new solutions, which admittedly often happens automatically thanks to smart services. In this instance, it is the automatic joint use of coupons, store cards or digital receipts for example that significantly reduce administration efforts on the retailer side.

Major topics at the Trade Fair Düsseldorf

From February 19- 21, the Trade Fair for Retail Technology, the EuroCIS 2013 in Düsseldorf also provided a comprehensive overview of the products and solutions that will define mobile payments this year. In view of the current trends and compared to last year, the trade fair had expanded its scope of products and services towards multichannel and e-commerce aspects. Companies like Easycash, GK Software, InterCard, Motorola, TeleCash or Verifone were among the exhibitors that presented new mobile solutions at the Düsseldorf Trade Fair. The showcased solutions cover very different approaches to mobile payments.

Mobile payments on the mobile web

Tech-savvy customers want to shop online with their Smartphone more and more often and usually get information on products and services via apps or alternative solutions such as QR codes. That’s why many retailers already established mobile online stores and offer apps. Mobile payment at the mobile online store works just as easy as from your home computer. That’s because the payment process remains the same. Today “just” tablets and Smartphones have been added to the previous desktop computers as new devices.

This is why the popular providers of Internet-based payment services are also busy with their product offers in this area. This includes payments via debit or credit cards, electronic direct debit (ELV), prepaid solutions (e.g. paysafecard), e-Wallets (e.g. PayPal, MyWallet, by VISA, paypassWallet by MasterCard), online bank transfers (e.g. giropay, instant transfer) or SMS payments (e.g. Mpass).

”Mobile terminals“ for retailers

Retailers can also use tablets and Smartphones as mini POS terminals and in doing so, facilitate credit card payments online as well as with a local card reader. In Germany, this works for payments with girocard, electronic direct debit as well as with credit cards for example. The payleven Company offers such a solution for instance. In our EuroCIS interview, CMO Konstantin Wolff explains the benefits a mobile card payment solution offers retailers and customers.

Contactless payment at the checkout and online

Recently, more and more new card-based m-Wallets are being offered to facilitate mobile payments. This includes among others by VISA, paypassWallet by MasterCard and Serve by American Express. What is new with these products is that with card-based m-Wallets, the payment card data is being stored in the cell phone on the SIM card or even just in the Cloud. This makes secure mobile payments at contactless POS terminals and also on the Internet possible.

Trade fair identifies the most important trends for 2013
During this year’s EuroCIS, four important trends in particular became apparent, which will influence the development of mobile payment in the near future.

• More and more retailers all over Europe create the technical requirements for mobile contactless payments in retail by integrating contactless cards and installing contactless POS terminals.

• Increasingly, new solutions for QR code shopping, mobile Internet shopping via Smartphone as well as mobile services to stimulate customer loyalty are being initiated. Mobile payment services are being used “just like on the Internet“.

• Especially smaller retailers (such as coffee shops and small stores) and mobile merchants (meaning the booth at the weekly farmer’s market for example) are increasingly going to use mini POS terminals based on Smartphones and tablet computers. Either traditional credit card payments with Chip&PIN or credit card payments on the Internet are being used as mobile payment services.

• Contactless payment via Smartphone also continues to be a major topic in retail and is increasingly in demand. In this case, card-based m-Wallet services will probably come out on top.
To what extent the currently still few NFC-enabled Smartphones and tablets will be able to catch on, can probably be seen starting mid-year, when the hardware is widely available and affordable for customers.

Daniel Stöter,