Why is the mobile phone positioned as the favorite means of payment? The quick answer is clear: it’s quick. But knowing that not only they are becoming favourites in physical payments but also in online payments, quickness moves to the background leaving room for other not so simple reasons.
For both contactless physical payments and online payments, the smartphone gains followers year after year, something that a short time ago would have seemed impossible and was even considered dangerous. But the truth is that the time has finally supported the technology and every day it’s verified that it’s a very safe and comfortable means of payment.
Mobile phone for contactless physical payments
We know that contactless payments (both with mobile phone and with credit or debit card) are displacing the conventional use of the card and cash (65% in Spain in 2018). The advantages are clear: the payment is much faster and, in many cases, if it’s less than € 20 it’s not even necessary to enter the pin, further accelerating the process.
But using the card, even in its contactless mode, means having to open the wallet and look for it, while the mobile phone is always close at hand and with the access pattern so automated that it hardly requires a few milliseconds. And precisely that access pattern assumes a higher level of security than the credit card has, being two levels in case the app used for payment also has a pin.
Interestingly, contactless mobile payment is often considered more unsafe, but the truth is that it’s much more safe and secure than with the contactless card, which as we have seen, doesn’t require any identification in payments up to €20. Anyway, as you intuit, the main reason for choosing the mobile is quickness.
Mobile phone for online payments
The growth of this type of payments also has a good growth rate despite the fact that, unlike the type of mobile payment we have seen before, this option isn’t more comfortable than its alternative: the computer. Even so, we have gone from 25% in 2014 to a negligible 63% in 2018 (Spain). How is this possible, if it’s much easier and more convenient to shop online from a computer?
The answer is multiple: on one side, we spend the day using the smartphone at every free moment we have, time that is usually spent browsing social networks or finding products we need or want. In both cases, it is very likely to end up on a product sheet and make effective the impulse to buy immediately.
On the other side, with the current security measures, practically in all online purchases it’s necessary to have the mobile phone at hand to receive a security code and to complete the purchase process. This will happen whether the purchase is being made on the PC or the phone. In this way, why use two devices when everything can be done directly in one?
If we add to this the constant enlargement of the size of the mobile screens and the new biometric identification methods (fingerprint, eye or face recognition, etc.), the convenience and quickness to perform any process through the mobile devices are increased, becoming small computers and the unique method of payment in any circumstance.
And for the future?
There is much talk about how the payments of the future will be, and if we take into account only the technologies that are already being tested, the trend is clear: minimalist payments where human interaction is practically non-existent. They are known as invisible payments.
These types of payments can be accessed in more or less “futuristic” ways, but all have in common that the only thing that the client needs to do to carry them out is to confirm their willingness to pay. From identifying the mobile wirelessly without taking it out of the pocket or purse to the face biometric identification, through wearables such as smartwatches or implants under the skin. Technologies that now may seem more or less distant to us but that, without a doubt, will end up gaining society’s favor for their convenience, which is ultimately what we always want in the end.
Sources: Statista, Mastercard