Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mobile Payments in North American Market

No cash? No problem. The U.S. finally seems to be moving closer to a goal of using mobile phones to accomplish financial transactions and make purchases as several competing market players align on both technology and objectives, according to In-Stat.

Although 2008 will not be the year of mobile payments in the U.S., some meaningful progress is likely, the high-tech market research firm says.

"There is evidence that the U.S. market may overcome a crucial issue -- technology incompatibility -- and make progress during 2008 toward contactless payments using cell phones," says David Chamberlain, In-Stat analyst. "Companies in several different sectors all ultimately want to deploy near field communications (NFC), the key enabling technology, into handsets as well as in merchant payment terminals."

There is also general agreement that the current generation of mobile banking services is an important first step toward accomplishing that goal. Hopefully, the result will be that the U.S. starts the long journey to catch up to the market leaders in the Asia-Pacific region.

The research covers the North American market for mobile payments. It includes a review of recent progress in deployment of financial services in cell phones, and brief profiles of many of the companies involved with bringing those services to market, particularly in the U.S. market.

In-Stat's market study found the following:

- Depending on several technology, commercial, and marketing factors, between 8 million and 30 million customers in North America will be using NFC-based contactless payments by 2012.

- Over 34 million cell phones could be used for other financial applications like online banking by 2012.

- Most of the companies involved in bringing mobile finance to the North American market have similar goals and understanding of the current market, which is critical to the development of the market.