As industry chatter surrounding mobile payments becomes even more energised, a leading consultancy has warned that it is too early to launch NFC-enabled devices and apps prior to global standards being finalised. According to Logica, a business services consultancy, companies rushing to make products and services that initiate m-payments could be harmed if they fail to meet consumer expectations.
"There are a lot of people working very hard developing m-payment apps, and if they don't work well, people won't embrace them," Jerry Norton, managing director of financial services at Logica UK, told Cards International. "The problem comes when technological capability overtakes consumer demand, and products are launched."
According to Norton, developers are pushing forward with their development plans to ensure they are one of the first to market. "Companies are trying to circumnavigate banks without appreciating how difficult that actually is," he said.
The exec also pointed to the late 1990s when there were nearly 50 different online payment applications in operation.
"If you looked now at how many survived, I think the number would probably be one," he said. "Many were good ideas but the companies developing them didn't understand how much they needed the involvement of banks, and the same thing is happening now in m-payments."
This warning from Logica came shortly after the O2 Telefónica Europe CEO Matthew Key dropped a heavy hint during his keynote speech at the CeBIT conference in that e-wallet services would shortly be introduced in the UK. The service, which is already in operation in Germany and Kenya, would include direct-to-bill and peer-to-peer payment facilities based upon NFC technology.
"We see ourselves being an aggregator of services and payments. As a mobile business we are uniquely positioned," Key said, according to V3. "Telefónica across the world has 190 million customers, and we know everyone's payment history and credit references."
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