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Your mobile phone as a credit card

: Monday, July 04 - 2005 @ 11:02

Despite the necessary technology for phones not yet being available in the UK, the research already shows a significant interest among mobile users to use their phones for making small payments. This figure rises to 56 percent among 16-24 year-olds, suggesting that young people in particular see benefits in using this technology. Some 32 percent of people aged 16-24 said they were ‘very interested’ in using their phone to purchase goods.

Amongst adults showing an interest in making purchases with their phone, people transport fares were mentioned most often. Almost half (49 percent) of those surveyed said they would be most likely to use their mobile phones to pay for car parking, while 46 per cent said they would pay for bus fares / tickets. In contrast, just one fifth said they would be likely to use their phone to pay for sweets or snacks from a shop or vending machine.

Among 16-24 year olds who were interested in making payments with their phone, 63 percent said they would like to be able to buy bus tickets this way. Perhaps surprisingly, only under a third would use their phone to pay for items from a vending machine (30 percent) or for sweets and snacks from a shop (28 percent).

Younger people were most likely to find themselves short of small change ‘most days’ of the week. One fifth of 16-24 year olds said they found themselves lacking change ‘most days’ compared to an average of nine percent amongst all adults surveyed.

Dr. Tacis P. Gavoyannis, Global Head of Technology for TNS, comments:
“The use of mobile phones for micropayments is growing in countries like Japan and Korea, with new services launched that in effect turn handsets into ‘mobile wallets’, enabling people to use their mobiles to pay for tickets and goods from shops, to check in at airports, or to act as a membership card or even an electronic key. Comparatively, the ability to use mobile phones for payments is still very limited in the UK, with some availability to make online payments for mobile services such as ringtones or downloads, or hybrid services like the use of SMS to make congestion charge payments

This TNS research suggests that mobile owners in the UK are receptive to the idea of using their phone as a mini-credit system, particularly among younger people. As long as secure and convenient systems for making payments are in place, the proportion of people interested in using this type of service is very likely to continue to grow.

While there is a real opportunity for mobile operators, they need to take the lead now and introduce consumers to the benefits of this new technology while interest is high. Systems such as the Oyster card, which are used in London to pay for public transport fares, have been well received and there are now plans to extend the scope of these cards. Pilots have already been undertaken in Swindon and systems are being explored to enable payments to be made for goods purchased at newsagents and grocery stores.

With Oyster now appearing as a direct threat to mobile operators, more needs to be done to ensure they don’t lose a competitive advantage. Mobile phone users need to know that this technology is on the way if they are to sustain the interest currently shown by consumers.

Korea, Japan, UK are all pioneering the way in these the new opportunities for operators and consumers. The mobile is clearly moving closer every day to becoming even more in our lives, a convenience charge card as well as a means of communication.“

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Monday, July 4- 2005 @ 11:02 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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