Are Mobile Payments really the Future of Transactions?

Apple Pay created a buzz equivalent to the launch of the new iPhones, and that too when it is not available worldwide. And soon after Visa launched a token service for securing mobile payments, once again only available in US. When the buzz in the industry is that m-commerce in India is going to be bigger than e-commerce, then why is the country still left behind in international innovations in mobile payments. We decided to ask the industry experts themselves to know where are mobile payment systems in the country headed to? Below are the excerpts from the conversations.

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Bipin-Preet-Singh

Bipinpreet Singh, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, MobiKwik

Mobile payments are undoubtedly going to be the future of transactions. Earlier people were talking about traffic and now they are talking about traffic growing faster on mobile. Mobile is here and it’s happening, it’s a question of who will emerge as a leader in mobility.

The reason it is not growing like the way it should is because the existing infrastructure in not scalable. The payment gateways are not meant for mobile, and the transaction success rate is quite low as compared to those done on the web. This is because each bank integrates its own version of gateways, which are seldom up to date with the latest iOS version or the Android version.

Android which is the most widely used mobile OS in smartphones in the country is segmented. The online customers have 70-80 options of making a payment, there is no one instrument that is dominated. Also, everything is happening at the same time – a large number of people don’t have credit cards or debit cards, some don’t even have a bank account which is now gradually changing. Online commerce, online payments, smartphones etc. are still developing. In the case of US and Singapore, people had credit cards much before E-commerce happened. 

That’s not the case in India, where all is happening simultaneously, and a single dominating channel is yet to emerge. And it is the people who will ultimately choose the safest and the most convenient way of making a transaction.

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Anirudh-Suri

Anirudh Suri, ‎Founding Partner at India Internet Group and Chief Executive Officer at Findable.in

Mobile payments is a loose term it encompasses a lot many things. Some are web-based, they haven’t caught up yet, but are still being used. However yes, all commerce is moving towards mobile, and as a result payments will become a critical part in enabling mobile commerce. 

In order to push e-commerce itself, a lot of players are adopting trust building methods. More people are having debit cards and credit cards as compared to last year. Yet, people should feel comfortable with whatever payment method they choose, and banks can play a role in doing so. 

The current companies started Cash-on-Delivery to promote their online commerce. But, even though it is a slow process, CoD is going down. The drawbacks of CoD is pushing card payments. To further move towards a cashless society banks have to push harder. At the same time the telcos also have a major part to play here, together with banks they can start allowing small sized payments on the mobile phone bills itself. 

And the third enabler of mobile payments, after banks and telcos, is going to be innovation with startups and tech firms. This includes mPOS solutions like m-swipe, loyalty rewards startups for mobile payments and mobile equivalent of online services.

Kunal-ShahKunal Shah, Founder , Freecharge.in

The future in India is a lot around mobile. We first had broadband and then we mobile Internet, for most Indians Internet first happened on mobile. It is going to connect people globally without boundaries, and companies are going to drive this through their mobile first approach. As for the monetary transactions, the most comfortable method will be the future. 

Currently people find cash the simplest, and the motive right now is not only focusing on mobile payments, but on creating something simpler than cash. People will shift to what motivates them, it could be mobile, or it could be something else.

(When asked why were payment gateways are still not mobile optimised when the shift is clearly towards mobile) At Freecharge.in we have seen transactions made on mobile increase from 20% in 2013 to 80% this year, hence it is clear that people are using mobile for payments. However, banks yet hadn’t seen a demand yet, hence hadn’t changed the system. It’s a demand first and infrastructure later model, now that payments are happening the development will happen too. 

The consumers should be asked what they want. We are not US and we are not China, what has worked there might not work here, we have to create products for the consumers in India.

Get more such expert insights on the future of mobile Internet and mobile payments in the country at GMIC 2014 Bangalore.

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