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MEF’s recently published Mobile Money Report supported by Wirecard, asked 6,000 consumers in nine countries about their usage and attitudes towards mobile payments.  It paints a detailed picture of how mobile money is taking hold in both growth and established markets.

The headline statistic, that two in five shoppers have used their mobile device to pay for items in-store, indicates just how much consumers are becoming habituated to replacing cash with a digital transaction.

Here, Christian Von Hammel-Bonton, EVP of Global Product Strategy at Wirecard discussed the report in more depth.  The report can be downloaded here for free.

‘Mobile is eating the world.’ So said Andreessen Horowitz’s Benedict Evans in October 2014. His words certainly came to mind when I read this year’s MEF Mobile Money Report.

We originally used phones to make calls, send messages, check emails, browse the Internet and pay for digital content. Today, we use them to manage our entire lives: to play games, chat, check our finances, purchase products and order services. The list goes on. The report indicates that 78% of people surveyed had made a purchase by mobile in the previous six months.

So mobile is truly eating the world. This raises the question: do we still need laptops and PCs? I am writing this article on a Mac but I could easily do it on my smartphone. The fact is, many consumers today have never owned a PC, and never will.

Chinese users are at the forefront of this ongoing trend. Through our cooperation with Alipay, we have seen that Chinese consumers are heavily ‘engaged’ with their smartphones and love to purchase products via mobile, even outside of China.

The study reveals that 88% of China’s consumers use their device to make regular mobile purchases and when it comes to in-store mobile transactions 38% pay with their smartphone – nearly double the global average. Clearly, the migration from desktop to mobile can only accelerate. The always-connected smartphone becomes more powerful with every new release.

So my message to all businesses around the world is: if you neglect to offer services and products through the mobile channel, you will lose – not only your customers but also your business. However, be careful in how you design the mobile experience. Merely copying and pasting from Web to mobile formats will not work.

This is especially the case when it comes to payments. People use smartphones in public places, so merchants should be careful how they ask users to enter sensitive information. And they should ensure a fast checkout by using mobile wallets (Apple Pay, Android Pay, MasterPass, etc).

Without this, abandonment rates will be much higher than on the Web. Indeed, the report identified this as a problem, with 58% of people saying they have abandoned a transaction before checkout and 31% of payment ‘abandoners’ did so because they were asked for too much sensitive information.

Working in the payment industry for more than 20 years, I have been fortunate to witness the development of financial services worldwide. More and more users in markets including Africa, Asia and Latin America now have access to basic financial services. This development would not have been possible without mobile phones.

Indeed, the key figure of this year’s report shows that financial inclusion has arrived – and is steadily growing. This is a very encouraging sign in an otherwise turbulent 12 months.

So what can we expect for the future? I think this year’s report underlines some key trends that demonstrate mobile will continue to ‘eat the world’ over the coming years.

As a global payments technology company, Wirecard will support all these exciting mobile money trends and I’m sure we’ll see these developments reflected in future editions of MEF’s annual study. Until then, please enjoy reading the MEF Global Mobile Money Report.

Christian Von Hammel-Bonton

EVP of Global Product Strategy – Wirecard


Download the free MEF Mobile Money Report now

MEF’s global consumer study series looks at the habits and attitudes of nearly 6000 consumers in nine countries.

The Mobile Money Report supported by Wirecard found 78% of people surveyed had made a purchase by mobile in the previous six months and looks at the types of payments and banking activities in both developed and emerging markets that are changing m-commerce habits and driving adoption of mobile money.

Read the summary and download load the FREE report now.