The mobile craze has been loud and proud over the last year, as smartphones enable shoppers to get the information they’re looking for when they’re looking for it. Price comparison is alive and well in your stores and on your e-Commerce sites, and now the mobile phone’s capabilities are coming to life at the point of sale. Recent data indicates that the number of mobile payment users worldwide will exceed 108.6 million in 2010, a 54.5% increase from 2009, when there were 70.2 million users, according to Gartner, Inc. Mobile payment users will represent 2.1% of all mobile users in 2010.
In May, DeviceFidelity, a mobile technology company, announced the availability of its In2Pay solution for the iPhone, designed to enable iPhone users to make contactless visa transactions by waving their phone in front of a contactless payment terminal. By placing a removable In2Pay microSD into the protective case, iPhone users can take advantage of In2Pay’s secure contactless capabilities where contactless transactions are offered. They range from buying goods in retail stores and at unattended kiosks, to transit ticketing, and even securely accessing buildings and computers networks. Trials are scheduled to start during the second quarter of 2010, according to a press release.
On July 1, PayPal launched a mobile payment service for e-Commerce merchants — retail giants Buy.com and Nike are among the first to utilize the new system. Mobile Express Checkout is designed to provide a seamless payment experience for consumers shopping from their iPhones and Android devices. PayPal said the service will be available to all online retailers by the fall.
PayPal indicated that its mobile transactions have risen from $25 million in 2008 to $141 million in 2009, and it projects around $500 million in mobile transactions this year, according to a company blog post. Mobile experts have predicted the mobile payment business to exceed $633 billion by 2014.
Shoppers can enter their PayPal account logins when using Mobile Express Checkout to expedite the payment process by eliminating the need for reentering shipping or billing information.
Google, too, is getting in on the action. The conglomerate recently announced an extension for its Chrome browser designed to give Android users the ability to pay on-the-go. To help shoppers leverage the option, merchants need to set up a Google Checkout merchant account, populate the store with merchandise and then install the Android Payment Chrome Extension. From there, when a customer wants to buy something, the merchant creates a shopping cart with those items on their computer. The extension will then create a QR code, which when scanned with the phone will take the customer to Google Checkout page where they can complete the transaction.
Mobile Gets Sweet at Dairy Queen
Demonstrating the potential for this new form of payment, several Indiana-based Dairy Queen ice cream franchises have tapped loyalty system provider Tetherball to issue small, round stickers to consumers to stick to the back of their phones. Consumers can then text in the six-digit number on the sticker, which is tied to a sticker in Tetherball’s back-office.
This puts the power back in consumers’ hands, giving them the ability to redeem offers they get regularly via SMS. Analysts say the opt-in system could enable merchants to customize offers to customers based on buying patterns in the future.