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M-Commerce: Gateway to Mobile Payments Adoption

Christina Sommer |

Over the last eight months or so, our team has been heads down working on a new and exciting project—the MasterCard Mobile Payments Readiness Index—to be launched next month.  While we are not ready to share all of the findings yet, one of the headlines is mobile commerce (m-commerce) is the payment type consumers are most familiar with, most willing to use, and most important, currently using.

One of the differentiating features of our Index is the breadth of consumer research it includes. We conducted consumer research in 34 markets around the world to identify which mobile payments type—person-to-person (P2P), mobile commerce (m-commerce) or mobile at the point of sale (POS)—consumers are most familiar with, willing to use, and presently using.

Although m-commerce tops all three categories in nearly all the markets we surveyed, there are exceptions—notably Kenya, where usage of P2P is highest.  And while m-commerce usage seems intuitive—as consumers have become accustomed to making purchases via e-commerce—there are some surprises.

In the United States, 33 percent express willingness to use m-commerce in the future but only 12 percent are currently engaging in m-commerce—relatively low usage  for a country with high smart phone penetration.  On the other hand, in countries like Saudi Arabia, China, and Colombia, m-commerce activities are thriving—providing a significant opportunity for banks and telcos.

M-Commerce Familiarity, Willingness, and Usage

Source: MasterCard Mobile Payments Readiness Research, 2011-12

I believe that like other payment types, mobile payment adoption will move along a continuum.  Over time, consumers will progress from familiarity with mobile payments, to willingness to use, to actual usage.  As consumers become more comfortable using their phones to purchase goods on the Internet, they will likely become more apt to consider using these same devices to pay for things at the point of sale—and even to pay one another.

Topics: Payments Strategy

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