Mobile payments not catching on


  • TECH
  • Thursday, 06 Jun 2013

NOT TAKING OFF: A customer pays for purchases with Google Wallet mobile payment. Consumers the world over still prefer cash and cards to NFC-enabled phones, says Gartner. - ©AFP/Relaxnews 2013

Consumers the world over still prefer cash and cards to NFC-enabled phones.

The latest figures from Gartner, published on June 5, will make depressing reading for Google Wallet, Isis, Square and a host of other virtual wallet providers. With the exception of making money transfers, consumers are still shunning mobile payments.

Gartner forecasts that the value of mobile payments will increase globally by 44% over the course of this year from the US$163.1bil (RM502.83bil) racked up in 2012, to a figure of US$235.4bil (RM725.97bil).

But most of this increase (71% of it, to be precise), is down to electronic money transfers rather than paying for physical goods via NFC (Near Field Communication) at a point of sales terminal.

In fact Gartner expects the activity to increase by a mere 2% over the next 12 months.

"We expect global mobile transaction volume and value to average 35% annual growth between 2012 and 2017, and we are forecasting a market worth US$721bil (RM2.22tril) with more than 450 million users by 2017," said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner.

"Nevertheless, we have lowered the forecast of total transaction value for the forecast period due to lower-than-expected growth in 2012, especially in North America and Africa."

And it is the continuing lack of interest that consumers are showing in virtual wallets that has led to this downgrade.

The value of transactions via these services has been downgraded by some 40% and even by 2017, a year after NFC is expected to be a standard feature on most mobile devices, Gartner now believes that the technology will only be responsible for 5% of all mobile payments.

Areas of growth are coming from the Asia/Pacific region where NFC terminals and infrastructure - thanks to integrated public transit and vending machine systems - are already well-established.

The region is expected to experience a 38% increase in mobile payments in 2013 and by 2016 will be the biggest market globally for such transactions. Adoption of the technology in emerging markets such as India where physical cash but not credit and debit cards are prevalent will also help drive popularity.

However, in North America and Europe NFC in particular is failing to offer consumers any benefits over traditional forms of payment. - ©AFP/Relaxnews 2013  

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