Consumer experience is key to mobile payments taking off

Alex Walls
May 21, 2013

The technology is available for making mobile payments widespread – it’s the customer experience that needs work.

Speaking at Marketforce’s The Future of Mobile Payments, industry experts agreed the technology for mobile payments, and their widespread use, was available but that customer experience was key to the payment option taking off.

Behaviour and ubiquity

VocaLink business development manager Nick Daniel said the keys to mobile payments taking off as a payment option was influencing the behaviour of consumers and making the option ubiquitous.

VocaLink run national payment infrastructures on behalf of payment schemes, including Bacs and Link.   In 2012, the company had 10.1 billion transactions across all its services which on Bacs was to a value of £4.1 trillion.

Mr Daniel said customers needed to be informed and incentivised to use mobile payments; the option needed to worthwhile for them to use it.   Research the company had undertaken asking consumers what they would require from a mobile payment experience, to use it, showed that the service would need to be convenient, intuitive, simple to use and ubiquitous, and this was aht biggest issue – there needed to be a realistic expectation that consumers could use mobile payments anywhere, to pay for anything, on any device with a similar experience across platforms.

Vocalink was working on a mobile payments infrastructure for the United Kingdom for the Payments Council and would have five million registered users at launch early next year, Mr Daniel said.   This was forecast to rise to 25 million by the end of the first year.

Mr Daniel said the future of mobile payments could see payment systems including payment requests and receipts sent via mobile phone, the ability to pay bills via your phone or for small businesses to send bills.

The technology to enable services was here today, Mr Daniel said which would evolve and change in the future, but this didn’t matter.

“We can start now and take advanatage of the richer exepereince better devices will give us.”

Experience is key

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) head of mobile Terry Cordeiro said if the customer experience wasn’t great, it did not matter how great the technology was, and the industry was not there yet in terms of this.

RBS had run a trial of mobile contactless payments about a year ago and feedback from customers had outlined that they wouldn’t use the service if there was no extra value, or no difference between tapping to pay with your phone and tapping to pay with your card.   Extra value for the customer lay in what happened before and after making a payment, he said.

Mastercard mobile payments lead senior business leader Stephen Wood said the consumer proposition was key, but that another big challenge was the distribution channels between banks and telcos.

Fragmentation of the market was also highlighted as a barrier to mobile payment uptake, with Everything Everywhere head of business development Jason Rousseau-Hall said there were confusing messages in the market because of the number of different partners and offerings.

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