Mobile payments

With nearly six billion mobile phone users in the world, there is little surprise that the market for mobile commerce has grown significantly in recent years, with 200 million users and more than 600 billion USD worth of payments expected by 2013.

Even though technology may vary from country to country, consumers certainly have a lot to gain from the greater access and convenience that mobile commerce has to offer.

Mobile devices, ranging from simple mobile phones to the latest smart phones and tablets, can be used in a variety of transactions.

Services include making payments or sending money (nationally or internationally) with premium rate SMS messages, accessing bank accounts via mobile web browsers or downloadable 'apps', and using the device itself as a contactless electronic wallet.

In developing countries, where 2.5 billion people are currently 'unbanked', and a lack of infrastructure fails to meet the needs of the population, mobile payments constitute a unique opportunity and offer a great leap forward in financial inclusion.

This has the potential to make a significant improvement to the lives of many people in developing countries, and potentially boost economic growth.

However, this technology is not without its problems. A lack of legal and regulatory frameworks within the market has given rise to security concerns, data privacy issues and confusion as to who is responsible in the event of a failure or breach.

Additionally, lengthy transaction times and often high charges mean that mobile commerce can be more harmful than useful to the consumer.

CI is interested in the growth of mobile payments and mobile banking, and will be working with members to input into the development of the ISO standard on mobile banking payments.

 

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