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Mobile payments increased 38 percent worldwide since January: txtNation

While various mobile payment mechanisms are still battling it out for supremacy, in general the growth of mobile payments continues to be robust, according to a txtNation executive.

Mobile payments are growing worldwide, and mobile penetration rates in Scandinavia are currently amongst the highest in Europe, with every person having at least one mobile device and consumer spending being amongst the highest in the western world.

Accepting mobile payments across Scandinavia has already proven to be a hit with customers, with most preferring the instant purchase of Premium SMS as a billing mechanism, according to txtNation.

Mobile Commerce Daily’s Dan Butcher interviewed Adam Williams, client and networks relations coordinator at txtNation, Plymouth, England. Here is what he had to say:

What challenges does SMS mobile payment address for merchants, retailers and content providers? What about WAP billing and MMS services?
For me, SMS has always been about the convenience, bundled with a degree of anonymity.

Many services that utilize mobile payment rely on impulse buys. In order to get as many of these as possible, these services need to streamline the purchasing process.

Credit card payment requires users to insert their name and full address, not to mention the card details.

PayPal helps, but only if you’ve got a registered account, which takes too much time in the first place.

Mobile payment makes it quick and easy. Send a unique payment ID, for example “PAY ABC” to a short code, receive a response within 10-15 seconds—done, billed, service granted.

WAP Billing, often bundled with MSISDN forwarding, is seemingly still battling with various regulators across the world.

That said, we’ve seen an increased take-up in the Britain’s “Payforit” solution, though Premium SMS still retains the greater share of the mobile payment market.

The main benefit to WAP billing is keeping users on one particular medium—their handset.

Every other billing mechanism requires the user to deviate from their chosen medium, be it PC to phone, WAP to phone or PC to credit card.

MMS, at least from the profitability perspective, flopped.

Whilst many users appear to have successfully interacted with each other using this technology, it seems that the business world has been unable to get any profitable leverage from the format.

This may change though, as more networks start to offer MMS billing.

What is the current state of mobile payments, and what is its potential?
Mobile payments are on the up.

Since the turn of the year we’ve seen an increase of more than 38 percent in mobile payments, across the globe, just through users taking advantage of our JunglePay and mEnable payment options.

We find that many businesses are currently opting for the convenience of these pre-built solutions, rather than an API service.

Interestingly, we’re seeing more operators opening up to the idea of selling physical goods via mobile payment, by offering a slightly increased revenue share for physical goods purchases.

Over the next couple of years, I see physical goods and mobile ticketing becoming a larger part of the mobile payment scene.

With which carriers has txtNation partnered ? Who are its mobile payments clients?
We’ve been working throughout the second quarter into the third quarter to partner up with each major operator in each Nordic country.

In Denmark we’ve partnered with TDC, Telia and Telenor, plus three more coming soon.

In Finland our partners are Sonera, a subsidiary of Telia, Elisa and DNA.

In Sweden we’ve partnered with Telia, Tele2, Telenor and 3.

In Norway our partners are Telenor, NetCom and Tele2’s Network Norway.

In the past we’ve predominantly worked with clients from the gaming sector, offering interactive games that sell virtual currency, or providing access to a special “members” area.

More recently, we’ve seen an upturn in enquiries from other sectors.

For example, mobile ticketing, where businesses offer their consumers the option to purchase and receive their concert or match ticket via SMS, has become very popular.

Orange’s British promotion “Orange Wednesdays” has blazed a trail for this type of service provision.

Subway and bus tickets in particular are becoming increasingly popular in the Nordics, with more than 10 percent of purchases being made via SMS.

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily