Mobile payments to rise by 70% this year

As mobile payments technology, especially NFC, starts to be embedded in handsets, the system will gain ground, and 3% of the total global mobile base will use it by 2012.
This will equate to 190 million users, according to new figures from Gartner, which expects the number of people using mobile payments to rise 70.4% this year, compared to 2008, to reach 73.4 million.
"Momentum in the mobile payment market gathered further in 2008 with a number of high profile launches of mobile money transfer services in multiple markets, participation of major global institutions in NFC payment trials, as well as new payment solutions entering the market," said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner. Obstacles include security concerns, an "inadequate ecosystem" and undefined areas in banking regulations.
The main mechanisms supporting cellphone payments will be SMS, WAP, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and NFC. In the US, most services rely on a full browser and credit card, while in developing economies USSD and NFC will be more significant. Gartner forecasts do not include transactions that use mobile operators' billing systems, such as purchase of mobile content, or telebanking via an interactive voice response (IVR) system.
In terms of number of users and transaction volumes, Gartner expects Asia-Pacific and Japan to maintain a larger share of the market throughout the period to 2012. Mobile payment penetration in western Europe is expected to rise from 0.9% in 2009 to 2.5% in 2012, and from 1.7% to 3% in north America, but penetration in Asia-Pacific and Japan will rise from 2% to 3.8% in the same timeframe. In Eastern Europe. Middle East and Africa, penetration will top 3% by 2012.
"The most profound impact of mobile banking and payment services is that they provide the non-banking population with access to modern financial services, giving them tools to improve their living standards," said Shen.

Source: Rethink Wireless