“There are over 4 billion bank cards in use across the world in 2010 and almost 5 billion mobile phone users.”

In a world where technology can be used for multiple exchanges, the use of mobile phones is no longer limited to simple voice communication functions. Mobiles have moved on and now provide access to a growing number of services.

Mobile payment or M-payment is a service which is continually gaining in popularity and can meet the associated challenges: worldwide, there are similarly huge numbers of mobile phone users and bank card holders. This service therefore has great potential as a new economic market and brings together the previously somewhat disconnected banking and telecoms sectors.

This concept has been under discussion for several years now, leading to both successes and disappointments.

Amongst the leading lights of the M-payment universe we find NTT DoCoMo (Japan) which has 15 million users (August 2009)3 and Safaricom (Kenya) whose M-Pesa service had registered 9.5 million users by March 20104 in the space of three years5. Other young and budding initiatives such as the “Cityzi” experiment (Nice, France) have raised hopes of developing interoperable systems in France and Europe.

Although M-payment is clearly nothing new, it is important to understand the issues currently facing this hugely diverse market. Will M-payment be given a new lease of life? Will it be revolutionary? What is at stake for banking and telecoms sectors, or independent and political players? Will M-payment become an integral part of our daily lives?

This study aims to give an overview of the current situation regarding M-payment, highlight the sector’s challenges and prospects for development and identify the key elements which will ensure the success of this new feature.

The examples listed within should not be taken as an exhaustive overview of the multiple M-payment markets and initiatives. This would necessitate a much longer list and a thorough analysis of the M-payment landscape. Our intention above all is to shed light on the multi-faceted reality of this phenomenon.

To read the full study, please download the PDF.

5 February 2013