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Mobile’s time has come

It’s the Mobile World Congress week this week, so everyone’s
talking about mobile.

In our space, the big announcements came from MasterCard and
Visa.

MasterCard launched a digital wallet in a joint venture with
mFoundry, whilst Visa announced an NFC partnership with Samsung.

MasterCard’s digital wallet is called MasterPass.  In effect, it is the launch of an app that lets
consumers keep all their payment and loyalty card details on their phone, as
well as shipping addresses.

MasterCard’s wallet announcement is interesting as it’s in
partnership with UK high-street retailers Argos and Boots, and American
Airlines in the US, whilst BNP Paribas, Banco Santander, Citi, Swedbank,
UniCredit and Westpac have all signed up to support the service.

Visa’s announcement is slightly less exciting for me.

The announcement is that Samsung will incorporate Visa's
PayWave mobile payment applet into all future Samsung devices, such as the
upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4. Visa will also make it easier for customers to
tie their Samsung phones to financial institutions and their personal Visa
accounts.

The reason this is slightly less exciting is that there's
one potential snag as the telecom firms have a big say in what features are
available on devices and which aren't. 
According to CNet, this means that there's a chance that the Visa PayWave technology may only be
available on Samsung devices sold internationally and not on most Samsung
smartphones sold in the U.S.

Regardless, these announcements are further endorsement of
the fact that the mobile payments space has come of age.

For example, according to the research company
MarketsandMarkets,  the
mobile money industry is expected to grow from $13.8 billion in 2013 to $278.9
billion by 2018, based upon 5.3 billion mobile phones in use worldwide this
year.

PayPal being a case in point has already been very active in
this space.

The numbers say it all: 

PayPal mobile

This is why PayPal pre-empted the Visa and MasterCard
announcements with their own launch of PayPal
Here
last week.

PayPal Here is
PayPal’s answer to Square and iZettle, a dongle and app to turn mobile phones
into payments terminals.  The
announcement last week is that a Chip & PIN version will launch in the UK this summer.

Paypal here

Meanwhile, another announcement that I spotted really
brought the point home about the explosion in mobile payments.

This was a press release I received from Monitise (part of Visa's PayWave consortia) that had
the following paragraph in it:

The value of payments
and transfers initiated via the Monitise Enterprise Platform is now more than
$31 billion on an annualised basis, compared with $10 billion a year ago. The
global Mobile Money business is handling 2 billion transactions on an
annualised basis, compared with 0.48 billion in February 2012, underpinned by
registered customers climbing to 20 million from 6 million in January
2012. 

If you didn’t think mobile money was taking off, think
again.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here…

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