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Growth of Proximity Mobile Payment Systems

A Smart Card Alliance market study concludes that proximity mobile payment will become the new technology of choice for consumers using mobile phones for retail payment transactions in the United States.

The findings and conclusions derived by the Smart Card Alliance "Contactless Payments Council" are presented in their new white paper entitled "Mobile Payments: Leveraging NFC and the Contactless Financial Payments Infrastructure."

The white paper discusses what is necessary to implement and deploy proximity mobile payment systems, the relevant technical and business issues from the perspective of the various stakeholders -- for example, mobile operators, the financial industry, end-users, providers and vendors -- and outlines the potential opportunities and barriers that may impact its market adoption.

Today's consumers increasingly value convenience -- services or features that they regard as useful. Mobile payment pilot projects and implementations carried out here and outside of the United States have shown that consumers value the convenience of using their mobile phones for payment at a physical POS. Once again, the Asia-Pacific region has been the pioneer.

One global forecast predicts that mobile phone-based contactless payments will account for over $36 billion of worldwide consumer spending by 2011, while another indicates that by 2012, some 292 million handsets -- just over 20 percent of the global mobile handset market -- will ship with built-in NFC capabilities.

Several factors are driving mobile payment deployment according to Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. "Consumers are adopting wireless data services, including contactless payments, very rapidly," he said.

Within North America, the financial industry has rolled out more than 21 million contactless payment cards and devices and over 50,000 merchants are putting in place the point-of-sale infrastructure that accepts contactless payments.

Next, mobile hardware with NFC technology, can leverage these experienced contactless payment customers and the POS terminal infrastructure used by merchants to accept contactless payments cards.

Finally, mobile operators, merchants, banks, and other service providers recognize that mobile payment initiatives offer business benefits and market differentiation.

"The addition of proximity NFC technology to mobile phones in combination of contactless financial payments offers opportunities for convergence and compelling business value to all stakeholders," Vanderhoof concluded.

Participants involved in the market study include:

CPI Card Group, Discover Financial Services, First Data Corporation, Giesecke & Devrient, Gotham Financial Services, Hypercom, IBM, IfD Consulting, INSIDE Contactless, MasterCard Worldwide, Mobile Candy Dish, NXP Semiconductors, Oberthur Card Systems, VeriFone, Visa USA, ViVOtech.

The white paper is available at no charge from the Smart Card Alliance Web site.

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