Reflections on Mobile Payments
The grab for mobile payment territory is now well under way and recently some of the larger traditional payment providers, like MasterCard and Visa, have realised how important mobile is for today’s time-poor consumers. The MasterPass app is now available for a limited number of retail outlets and although Visa failed to raise interest with their last major offering, there can be no doubt they will try again. Apple Pay is now rolling out beyond the US and every week there seems to be a new boutique mobile payment app (albeit most have less than 10 participant venue/locations). PayPal remains the most complete mobile consumer offering.
Who will win? If history can be trusted as a predictor, then based on the way credit cards developed, only a small number of offerings will become ubiquitous. At present none of the boutique mobile payment apps appear to offer any form of real industry disruption, which is traditionally the path for wider adoption of new concepts.
What is really important to consumers who are now digitally savvy and value their mobile digital device higher than their wallet? We argue that it is still the brand that counts and mobile payment should be invisible in terms of consumer to brand interactions. Digital (app and web) commerce provides convenience, speed and a platform to develop a one-to-one relationship.
There is a danger of focusing on the payment mechanism itself rather than accepting that consumers want to deal with you, not your bank. The digital arena offers so much potential for changing traditional business models, but focusing on the mobile payment mechanism first, places your brand as subservient and means you could end up as one hundreds of options. For example, do you want your customers to order and pay for your products directly via your well engineered app, or do you want your products to be one option on a list with all of your competitors?
If convenience and speed are important to consumers then what really matters is how a brand delivers on a much wider app/digital experience, one which showcases your brand and makes your products accessible. Payment processing should be invisible (and that is where technology excels), fast and secure.