Mobile commerce as payment systems alternative


One of the prospective lines in the high-tech development is considered to be an improvement and unification of mobile payment services. Along with the development of mobile applications for Android and iOS for specific payment systems, a possible alternative would be function extention of the cellular networks accounts. As soon as it is rather difficult to find a person without a mobile phone today, at least, a button one, this option seems even more likely to happen. So what are the sources, realities and prospects of the mobile commerce segment?


Premium-SMS - "Grandpa" of contactless payments.


Perhaps everyone of the 90s still remembers the first color covers for notebooks with printed codes to purchase various content on them - ringtones, screensavers or games for monochrome Nokia, Siemens and Samsung devices. Compared to the current prices it costed so much that time but only few of us could resist the temptation to set something "outside the box" as an income call alert. This service is called Premium-SMS and it became the progenitor of the idea for ​​the mobile account and payment systems integration.


Why phone accounts?


There exists a plenty of already invented and implemented technologies that allow to simplify the purchase and payment for goods and services by means of a mobile account balance. First of all, it's the contactless payments technology - NFC, as well as USSD and Push. The successful merger or account binding of mobile systems and bank payment cards will allow to solve a lot of questions, like sending money from another party, food ordering, ticketing, transportation and public utilities. Moreover, given the variety of such integration methods, this technology will become accessible for virtually any device.


SIM-card is in fact the closest analog to smart plastic cards. It has similar and even more perfect protection means, unique identifier, as well as built-in memory and the processor, allowing to process requests to perform operations. In this case, SIM card - is a unique key to your mobile wallet.


What's against it?


Anyway, there'are so much obstacles for such a breakthrough so far. The first is the need to identify the mobile phone network as an individual. And whether in some countries like Russia it's now impossible to buy a SIM-card without a passport, others such requirement exists only for contract subscribers. For this case the desire to keep anonymous often faces the increased vulnerability of mobile accounts for scam actions. A person knowing the phone number and several recently dialed numbers can easily reissue sim card in any service center, and thus take over payment details.


In addition, there remains the problem of unification of design methods, the introduction and implementation of such services by a variety of cellular network operators. As always, a good idea can be buried in a matter of co-operation of large corporations - whether mobile operators are ready to forget about the competition between themselves and join forces around a common product? Rivalry is not always the engine of progress - it may also slow down the global introduction of ready-made solutions in the market in favor of the company owning the technology just like it happened with unification of the charging and data transfer port in mobile devices.


Are phones the killers of cash payments?


So far it can be expected that already in this decade we will face another revolution in the non-cash payments technology, and we will get a ready single payment tool available to more than 80% of the population in the world that will replace dozens of existing electronic payment systems.