Mobile Payments to be Mainstream in Four Years

KPMG 2011 Mobile Payments Outlook – a golden opportunity for cross-industry partnershipsEight in ten business leaders believe mobile payments will become mainstream within four years, research by KPMG has revealed.

The KPMG survey of 1,000 chief executives found that 83% predicted that the use of smartphones to make payments or carry out bank transactions would be widespread by 2015, while just under half believed it would take just two years for mobile payments to gain mass-market acceptance.

Convenience was cited as the main reason for the growth in mobile payments over traditional banking methods, followed by simplicity of use and low cost.

Mobile payments can range from online payment processing systems such as PayPal, to mobile banking where banking services are accessed via a mobile phone. Less familiar options include ‘M-wallets’, where users’ SIM cards store account and transaction information, and carrier billing, where purchases are charged to the person’s mobile phone bill.

However, IT expert John Paterson, chief executive of IT consultancy Really Simple Systems, said awareness amongst small firms was “virtually zero”.

“For most time-pressed business owners, the idea of mobile payments is still too technologically challenging to be of any real use. Customers are unlikely to expect businesses to use them at the moment either.”

“Until a standardised system emerges, this is unlikely to change. There are also real issues around the perception of security.”

But he advised small firms to prepare slowly for what he called the “inevitable” growth in mobile payments.

“Mobile banking, for instance, is becoming increasingly accepted. Technologically, it’s not a huge leap on from online banking and it’s a safe, time-saving option, even though the scope of transactions can be quite limited.”

Forum of Private Business spokesman Chris Gorman said there was still some way to go before mobile payment systems were widely accepted among small firms, saying:

“Retailers which deal in high-volume, low-value transactions might find it more efficient and cost-effective to accept mobile payments from customers rather than paying fees to chip and PIN providers. But we’d advise businesses to carefully check contracts from service providers before signing up to anything – in particular, who is liable in cases of fraud.”

Mobile Payments to be Mainstream in Four Years

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