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mPowa rides mobile payment wave
Company to capitalise as interest in Europe turns to payment innovation
According to industry analysts Gartner, mobile payments is poised to become a half-trillion-dollar market segment in the next 18 months. It says the value of mobile payment transactions globally will top $235 billion this year, growing to be a market worth an estimated $721 billion with more than 450 million users by 2017.
Mobile payment innovator Powa is riding this wave of growth. The company is expanding its global footprint with a number of contracts around the world with high profile organisations like Portugal Telecomm Group and First National Bank in South Africa; and it is on the verge of further major success with its mPowa mobile payment solution in other parts of the world.
The chief executive and visionary behind mPowa, Dan Wagner explained to the 4th International PLUS-Forum Cards and Payments 2013 conference in Moscow recently how mobile payment is revolutionising the retail world. He outlined how the traditional point of sale is becoming more mobile and how in response mPowa, the first tool to make commerce fully mobile, has enabled mobile devices to take payments anywhere. With mPowa you simply insert a credit card into a compact card reader, which then communicates with a mobile device via Bluetooth, enabling merchants to accept payments on the move.
The International PLUS-Forum Cards and Payments is a conference which took place in Moscow in June. It is attended by senior banking, finance, ecommerce, retail, telecommunications and government executives from the Russia and CIS regions as well as the rest the world.
In his presentation Dan Wagner outlined his vision of the future of retail. "The consumer's relationship with and perception of money has changed," he explained. "It can live anywhere, anytime and is received, delivered and transacted through multiple venues, mechanisms and devices. Now it is trust not gold that governs 'money'."
The principle is simple: making payment easier adds directly to the bottom line. In Europe, customers are less likely to leave a store without making a purchase if they can easily use their favoured credit or debit card. The figures for loss of revenue through payment channels being unavailable or not used in a particular retailer make sobering reading, so the idea of making the process easier still with mobile payment using smartphones and tablets will be another step change throughout Europe.
Dan Wagner continued, "Digital experiences have created a new age of 'connected consumerism': buy online, pick up in store; buy in store and pay days later with a choice of multiple payment methods. And the store experience is changing too. The 'checkout' process can occur anywhere - in the aisle or at home. As a result, mobile payments will challenge and redefine long-standing assumptions on store design with an emphasis on product interaction. They will also drive retailers to learn new ways to connect brands with consumers: geo-fencing; mobile checkout; augmented reality; virtual try-on and other techniques will come to the fore. This will offer real-time insight-driven shopping and financial tools to the consumer and will spell the end of the uninformed passive shopper."
But Wagner warned that user adoption is key. "User adoption requires trust, interoperability of platforms, security, privacy and government regulation. Mobile payments must be at least as secure as using credit cards and cash today. And with mPowa, they are more secure and more productive than cash."
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