Emerging Payments

Survey: Interest in Mobile Pay Greater Outside the U.S.

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More than half of consumers in seven technology-advanced countries say they are interested in mobile payments. But the U.S. doesn’t crack the list of the top four countries in which residents say they’d consider replacing their plastic payment cards with mobile phones.

Those were key findings after U.K.-based IMS Research surveyed 700 consumers from the U.S., China, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Turkey and the U.K. for its 2012 report, “The World Market for Payment and Banking Cards.”

Companies involved in mobile commerce should be pleased with the news that 60% of respondents indicated they were either “very interested” or “interested” in mobile payments, says report author Don Tait, senior analyst with IMS Research’s financial and ID technology group.

“This represents a positive outcome for stakeholders involved in the mobile payments space,” Tait said in an IMS press release.

Countries with residents who responded most positively toward mobile payments were China, South Korea, Poland and Turkey, respectively, Tait says.

“It is worth stating that payment cards are likely to be here for the foreseeable future,” Tait adds. “After all, how long has the ‘paperless office’ and ‘cashless society’ taken to come to fruition?”

The death knell of a payment and banking smart card as a form factor is still a long way off, Tait says. IMS Research predicts that 3.4 billion smart payment cards will be shipped in 2017, compared to the 1.1 billion in 2011, he adds. The robust increase represents the belief that a full migration in the U.S. to EMV smartcards will have taken place by 2017.

Still, the movement toward mobile commerce and contactless payments continued to move forward in 2012, with growth in Near Field Communication-enabled handsets expected to far surpass the 35 million distributed in 2011. However, it is not certain whether the number of NFC handsets will pass the nearly 80 million that IMS predicted last year, a forecast at least partly predicated on the potential for Apple Inc. to introduce an NFC-enabled phone, which it did not.

“The number of NFC-enabled phones launched onto the market has gathered pace during 2012,” Tait says. “Apart from Apple, virtually all of the leading smartphone manufacturers have launched NFC-enabled handsets over the last 18 months.”

Such a trend bodes well for the technology and applications that power mobile payments, he says.

The momentum for NFC also received a boost when ISIS finally launched its mobile wallet service in Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City in October, while the Google Wallet remains firmly behind NFC technology, Tait adds.

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