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Make your move: how mobile payments continue to make a splash

Tue Jul 12 06:00:00 EDT 2016

London FinTech Week 2016 is in full swing, as everyone from start-ups to global entrepreneurs join to talk the future of all things techy. But there’s one topic that continues to gather pace into 2016 and beyond, and that’s mobile payments. One workshop in particular led by Maxim Yevdokimov, Vice President and Head of Mobile at Tinkoff Bank, and Anna Kovaleva, Business Development Manager at Yandex Money, explores top trends in mobile money and banking. Payments on the move have evolved at such speed that they now play a regular part of everyday life. And because of this spike, NFC (Near Field Communication) transactions are set to soar by 59% in 2016 alone, the biggest year-on-year growth ever recorded. From the UK to Italy, we take a look at the latest developments in mobile payments across the globe.

Another way to pay

Starting closer to home, Barclaycard is putting a spring in the step of UK shoppers and has partnered with affordable mobile phone brand Alcatel to offer a shiny bPay sticker on 20,000 handsets of the new Alcatel POP 4. The bPay sticker is a convenient way to pay as it can turn anything into a contactless device. All shoppers need to do is sign up for a bPay account, top up the device and they can make payments of up to £30, wherever they see the contactless symbol. Barclaycard’s Commercial Director of Digital Consumer Payments Tami Hargreaves commented that the collaboration instantly turns the phone “into a contactless way to pay, giving users a simple, flexible, and secure way to make payments for everyday goods and services”. And as the only mobile payment-enabled smartphone available at this price level, the new partnership looks set to be the first of many... Who needs to carry a wallet anyway?

In other news, Android Contactless Mobile has got UK shoppers all of a flutter. As opposed to a bPay sticker, Android owners can instead download the Barclaycard app and, like magic, transform their smartphones into mobile payment devices. Another great excuse to declutter your handbag (and a life-saver if you’ve lost your card), Android Contactless Mobile allows consumers the freedom of touch payments without having to fumble for their wallets. Plus, where the shiny beacon of the contactless symbol is displayed, some merchants will even accept payments to the value of £100 with your card’s PIN number.

Roll up, roll up for mobile payments

Moving across the pond, the Bank of America has hinted towards an influx of mobile payments among consumers in the United States. In a recent survey of theirs, research shows that not only are 40% of participants actively using or interested in the technology, but that two out of three are already using online or mobile apps as their preferred method of payment. And when it comes to the driving force of this trend, it’s millennials who are becoming the big players of the spending public (39% have even revealed they enjoy interacting with their smartphone more than anything or anyone else). In the UK, 24% of the millennial age bracket admitted to being late for work, simply because they were searching for their wallets (instead of using contactless). While market researchers GFK revealed that millennials, compared to other generations, are twice as likely to fly the flag mobile payments. Could this hail the coming of one giant leap for mobile payments state-side?

In other corners of the globe, Oberthur Technologies (OT) is giving the banks of France access to its Digital Enablement Platform (DEP). The result? By wielding this technology, French banks can allow their customers to pay on the move using their digital wallets and virtual payment cards via compatible smartphones and tablets – yet another thumbs up for mobile payments. Meanwhile across the border, Vodafone Italia has introduced Vodafone Wallet. Already available in the UK, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, Vodafone Wallet allows smartphone users to make NFC payments via PayPal. Compared to 2014, contactless has soared by 100% among Italian consumers, with over 16 million shoppers now owning a smartphone enabled for mobile transactions.

So, what’s next for payments on the move? With countries all over the world fast adopting ways to make shopping easier for the millennial generation (as quickly as the evolution of FinTech itself), it would certainly seem that the sun is shining down on mobile payments. 

What is mobile pay?

Mobile pay refers to the payment services that can be performed from or via a mobile device. In lieu of cash or credit cards, users can pay for a range of products or services using their smartphone.