mGage Blog

Contact-Free Payment

The expansion of contactless payments

With the recent rollout of contactless payments on the tube, now seems an apt time to look at the opportunity this will provide for mobile. Although the focus of TFL’s launch has been contactless payment by debit/credit card, it seems that travellers will be able to make contactless payment with their mobile, in some form.

Indeed, allowing contactless payment by mobile seems to be necessary or at least desirable in order to provide the greatest convenience to travellers. With the introduction of Apple Pay and the diminishing need for a physical wallet that will ensue, consumers may find themselves no longer carrying credit and debit cards with them, but travelling only with their smartphones. Whilst allowing contactless payment is a huge step forward in terms of the convenience it provides to travellers, such convenience may become rapidly limited if consumers no longer carry wallets.

A gradual transition

Such transition from carrying wallets to relying solely on mobile to pay for goods will be a very gradual process. Consumers are not likely to ditch the security and familiarity of their ‘real’ wallets for a long time. At least a couple of things will need to happen first; namely, that mobile payments are rolled out more widely in shops and that consumers have had sufficient time to familiarise themselves with, and grow to trust, this method of payment.

Contactless is not the only way

However, amongst the hype around contactless, marketers should not forget other methods of mobile payment – namely, the opportunity for direct billing. Direct billing allows consumers to add charges to their mobile phone bill and so provides an easy and time-efficient way to pay for low-ticket items, such as magazine/newspaper subscriptions.

Such time-efficiency comes from the fact that direct billing negates the need to visit a website. Consumers need to simply click on a bar code or send an SMS; in return, they will be sent a link which will enable them to sign up for a subscription or offer. For marketers, this is an ideal way to make a call for action.

So, despite that the full transition to mobile payments will be a gradual one, each additional reason for not needing to carry a wallet will provide a further reason for marketers to focus on m-commerce. Marketers must no longer view mobile as a way of communicating with consumers, but as the increasingly normal way that consumers pay for things – be it through contactless or direct billing.

The information included herein is distributed for informational use only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be taken as such. All clients are responsible for meeting legal requirements and other rules that apply to their messaging programs. Consultation with legal counsel is strongly recommended.

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