Whether shopping at a retail store or at a vending machine, consumers will resort more and more to their cell phones for making payments, according to the "Mobile Payments" report by researchers ARC Group. It forecasts $20 billion in mobile payments by 2005.
Helping to drive these payments will be a changing retail POS infrastructure both in retail stores and at vending machines, the study says. Indeed, it notes that some of this infrastructure is already supporting mobile payments in the Asia Pacific region. "We`re seeing vending machines that are able to talk to mobile phones and provide not just canned drinks but personalized city guides and entertainment information," said report author Richard Jesty. "Mobile ticketing projects are also underway in Japan, which will enable travelers to use their phones as season tickets with built-in credit facilities."
London-based ARC Group also notes that Visa International Inc. and MasterCard International Inc. are working with payment network operators and banks to test payment methods, ranging from a point of sale retail system to a server-based e-wallet. "Combined with new methods of ensuring that remote transactions are secure, these mobile payment systems will enable virtual debit or credit cards to be used for local retail payments as well as online purchases on the Internet," the report says.