Visa puts yet more cash into mobile payments

Yet more evidence that mobile transactions will be big. Visa had previously committed to spending 100 million Euros per year rolling out mobile payments. They have now made a significant investment in Square’s credit card reading technology. Founded by Jack Dorsey, previously of Twitter’s fame, Square aims to bring mobile payments to the masses. The concept is simple enough – Square is a device that will allow anyone with a smartphone to take payments through it. Imagine that you have a plumber in to fix your boiler. You obviously won’t have enough cash to pay him, so he whips out his smartphone, clips on Square and it instantly becomes a chip and pin machine. In the US there are 27 million businesses that don’t take credit cards. Square’s aim is to give them that facility. As Keith Rabois from the company explained, ‘we’re empowering people to accept credit cards that historically have not’.

The service is proving popular already, with over 100,000 merchants signing up to it.  The investment from Visa gives added weight to the concept of mobile transactions. The significance of this is not simply in helping small merchants to take payments, but in the overall consumer perception of phones as the place to make payments.

The Future of Contactless on Mobile (NFC)

The DMA Mobile newsletter is just out, in which we mainly cover contactless payment, or NFC. People are becoming increasingly familiar with contactless payment cards. These are soon to appear on phones in the UK (yes, they’ve been in phones in Japan for the last six years). Studies predict that 16 % of mobile subscribers worldwide will have an NFC capable mobile device by 2014 and that NFC represents an $80 billion opportunity.

Along side the payment and ticketing opportunities, contactless also presents some marketing opportunities. And such opportunities also throw up problems, especially those for the consumer.

I write about the potential and issues of contactless marketing. Paul Gant from iVoucher explains the technology behind contactless, and Jo Garcia from Velti covers some of the stats behind this exciting technology. Well worth a read!