- The official NFC-Logo
Although they idea to pay with a mobile phone has been hyped since the late 1990s, only a few countries have successfully implemented such services. Over the last few years, some major players have entered the mobile payment space. Currently the focus of the buzz is on Near Field Communication (NFC)-based services that support close proximity mobile payment.
Mobile payment is being adopted all over the world in different ways. In this article we provide a brief overview on the mobile payments.
Broadly speaking, mobile payment refers to all kinds of financial transactions performed from or via a mobile device. There are four main types of mobile payment: carrier billing, mobile wallets, mobile point of sale and mobile banking. In addition, there are a couple of other mobile payment solutions such as the SMS-based p2p money transfer service M-Pesa in Africa and Starbuck’s proprietary mobile loyalty and payment app. Also there is a lot of talking these days how mobile wallets will replace physical wallets and mobile banking is going to change the way we bank.
Carrier Billing Paymet Flow using the example of Cashlog
One of the easiest methods of paying using a mobile phone is payment via a mobile phone bill. It is a very competitive market and many companies such as Boku, Zong and Atlas offer worldwide mobile carrier billing services. In detail, carrier billing can be realized via different schemes: premium SMS text, premium rate numbers, mobile web (WAP) billing and direct carrier billing. Today, carrier billing is mostly used for micropayments and purchasing digital goods such as ringtones, wallpapers or virtual items in online games.
Mobile digital wallets
A digital wallet works much like a physical wallet. It is a service that allows the user to store and use electronic money or shopping information. Recently there has been a big hype about implementing digital wallets on smartphones and tablets. Mobile wallets, such as Google Wallet or the mobile PayPal app usually feature contactless technologies such as NFC, QR-codes or location based services. Using those mobile digital wallets, the user can use his smartphone to pay both online and at retail stores.
Mobile point of sale
Mobile Card Reader and App using the example of Intuit GoPayment
Mobile POS solutions such as Square in the US and iZettle in Sweden allow retail merchants to process card payments via their smartphone or tablet. Usually the combination of a small card reader that connects to the mobile device and an installed application enable the merchant to receive payments without the need to buy an additional device.
Mobile banking provides banking and financial services including the initiation of transactions or balance checking just like online banking services. This includes the use of mobile web pages as well as dedicated smartphone applications. In addition, some mobile banking solutions can also be used to make micro-transactions or contactless payments directly via the mobile phone.