Early days for mobile payments adoption: MasterCard

While no two markets are the same, consumer readiness is the critical success factor to drive mobile payments adoption around the globe, says a new report by payment facilitator, MasterCard.

The MasterCard Worldwide study MasterCard Mobile Payments Readiness Index (MPRI), released today, relies on an analysis of 34 countries and their readiness to use three types of mobile payments: person to person, mobile web commerce and mobile contactless payments at the point of sale.

India was rated at a score of 31.5 in the MasterCard index, driven by high scores in the infrastructure component, moderate scores in financial services and consumer readiness, and lower scores in overall environment. Consumer Readiness scores are in line with India's overall ranking on the index – number 21.

The MPRI identified Singapore, Canada, the United States, Kenya and South Korea as the most prepared markets.

The Index indicates that while it's early stages for mobile payments adoption, all markets globally – either highly scaled and integrated ones like the United Kingdom or compact and technology-driven ones like Singapore – are making progress towards reaching an inflection point where mobile devices account for an appreciable share of the payments mix.

India's annual investment in telecommunications of $69.7 billion and a high number of mobile phone subscriptions gives it a leading spot in Infrastructure - the second best on the Index.

''The results of the MasterCard Mobile Payments Readiness Index for India are encouraging. There is a marked improvement on the familiarity of P2P payments, m-commerce and POS transactions. The Mobile Payment industry will be largely driven by the young population and India's demographic dividend offers a great prospect'', says T V Seshadri, division president, South Asia, MasterCard Worldwide.

The Index also found that in markets such as Australia, it is typically the young affluent consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 years old who are the most willing to engage in mobile payments as they recognise the value of using mobile payments instead of cash or payment cards.

While this demographic was predominantly male in most countries, women showed higher levels of interest in countries such as China, Egypt and the Philippines.

In addition, findings of the MPRI reveal that partnerships among the key players in the mobile payments environment are essential to accelerate the commercialisation of mobile payments.

Cooperation and collaboration among financial institutions, telcos, governments, technology providers and others can foster an environment that enables a market to reach critical mass.

Some highlights of the MPRI

  • Nine of the 10 markets with the highest consumer scores are in APMEA (Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa).
  • Of the three mobile payment types, more consumers had engaged in m-commerce in 71 percent of the countries surveyed.
  • In developing economies, consumers are typically drawn to mobile payments for access to the larger economy, both national and global, as well as to a regulated  and secure economic infrastructure. Consumers in the developed world are drawn to the convenience of mobile phone payments. 

''Technology infrastructure, a responsive regulatory environment and a robust economy are table stakes for the advancement of mobile payments,'' says Theodore Iacobuzio, vice president, Global Insights, MasterCard Worldwide.

Iacobuzio adds, ''The necessary conditions are consumer readiness and industry integration. As no one entity can develop and promote mobile payments by itself, key players in the ecosystem must work together to collectively advance the cause of mobile payments.''