Mobile payment

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Mobile payment (also referred to as mobile money, mobile money transfer, and mobile wallet) generally refer to payment services operated under financial regulation and performed from or via a mobile device. Instead of paying with cash, cheque, or credit cards, a consumer can use a mobile to pay for a wide range of services and digital or hard goods. Although the concept of using non-coin-based currency systems has a long history, [1] it is only in the 21st century that the technology to support such systems has become widely available.

Financial regulation

Financial regulation is a form of regulation or supervision, which subjects financial institutions to certain requirements, restrictions and guidelines, aiming to maintain the integrity of the financial system. This may be handled by either a government or non-government organization. Financial regulation has also influenced the structure of banking sectors by increasing the variety of financial products available. Financial regulation forms one of three legal categories which constitutes the content of financial law, the other two being market practices, case law.

A mobile device is a computing device small enough to hold and operate in the hand. Typically, any handheld computer device will have an LCD or OLED flatscreen interface, providing a touchscreen interface with digital buttons and keyboard or physical buttons along with a physical keyboard. Many such devices can connect to the Internet and interconnect with other devices such as car entertainment systems or headsets via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular networks or near field communication (NFC). Integrated cameras, digital media players, the ability to place and receive telephone calls, video games, and Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities are common. Power is typically provided by a lithium battery. Mobile devices may run mobile operating systems that allow third-party apps specialized for said capabilities to be installed and run.

Cash Physical money

In economics, cash is money in the physical form of currency, such as banknotes and coins. In bookkeeping and finance, cash is current assets comprising currency or currency equivalents that can be accessed immediately or near-immediately. Cash is seen either as a reserve for payments, in case of a structural or incidental negative cash flow or as a way to avoid a downturn on financial markets.


Mobile payment is being adopted all over the world in different ways. [2] [3] The first patent exclusively defined "Mobile Payment System" was filed in 2000 [4] .

In developing countries mobile payment solutions have been deployed as a means of extending financial services to the community known as the "unbanked" or "underbanked", which is estimated to be as much as 50% of the world's adult population, according to Financial Access' 2009 Report "Half the World is Unbanked". [5] These payment networks are often used for micropayments. [6] The use of mobile payments in developing countries has attracted public and private funding by organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, United States Agency for International Development and Mercy Corps.

Developing country Nation with a low living standard relative to other countries

A developing country is a country with a less developed industrial base and a low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, this definition is not universally agreed upon. There is also no clear agreement on which countries fit this category. A nation's GDP per capita compared with other nations can also be a reference point. In general, the United Nations accepts any country's claim of itself being "developing".

A micropayment is a financial transaction involving a very small sum of money and usually one that occurs online. A number of micropayment systems were proposed and developed in the mid-to-late 1990s, all of which were ultimately unsuccessful. A second generation of micropayment systems emerged in the 2010s.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), previously the William H. Gates Foundation, is an American private foundation founded by Bill and Melinda Gates. Based in Seattle, Washington, it was launched in 2000 and is reported to be the largest private foundation in the world, holding $50.7 billion in assets. The primary goals of the foundation are, globally, to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and, in the U.S., to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology. The foundation is controlled by its three trustees: Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett. Other principal officers include Co-Chair William H. Gates, Sr. and Chief Executive Officer Susan Desmond-Hellmann.

Mobile payments are becoming a key instrument for PSPs and other market participants, in order to achieve new growth opportunities, according to the European Payments Council (EPC). [7] The EPC states that "new technology solutions provide a direct improvement to the operations efficiency, ultimately resulting in cost savings and in an increase in business volume".

The European Payments Council (EPC) was founded in 2002. It calls itself "the decision-making and coordination body of the European banking industry in relation to payments". The main task of the EPC is the development of the Single Euro Payment Area. The 74 members are banks and banking associatio


There are five primary models for mobile payments: [8] [ citation needed ]

Mobile money outlet in Uganda. Mobile money outlet.jpg
Mobile money outlet in Uganda.

There can be combinations:

Financial institutions and credit card companies [10] as well as Internet companies such as Google [11] and a number of mobile communication companies, such as mobile network operators and major telecommunications infrastructure such as w-HA from Orange and smartphone multinationals such as Ericsson [12] [13] and BlackBerry have implemented mobile payment solutions.

Mobile wallets

A mobile wallet is an app that contain your debit and credit card information so that users can pay for goods and services digitally by using their mobile devices. [14] Notable mobile wallets include:

Generally, this is the process:[ citation needed ]

First payment:

Subsequent payments:

Requesting a PIN is known to lower the success rate (conversion) for payments. These systems can be integrated with directly or can be combined with operator and credit card payments through a unified mobile web payment platform.

Credit card

A simple mobile web payment system can also include a credit card payment flow allowing a consumer to enter their card details to make purchases. This process is familiar but any entry of details on a mobile phone is known to reduce the success rate (conversion) of payments.

In addition, if the payment vendor can automatically and securely identify customers then card details can be recalled for future purchases turning credit card payments into simple single click-to-buy giving higher conversion rates for additional purchases.

Carrier billing

The consumer uses the mobile billing option during checkout at an e-commerce site—such as an online gaming site—to make a payment. After two-factor authentication involving the consumer's mobile number and a PIN or One-Time-Password (often abbreviated as OTP), the consumer's mobile account is charged for the purchase. It is a true alternative payment method that does not require the use of credit/debit cards or pre-registration at an online payment solution such as PayPal, thus bypassing banks and credit card companies altogether. This type of mobile payment method, which is prevalent in Asia,[ citation needed ] provides the following benefits:

  1. Security – Two-factor authentication and a risk management engine prevents fraud.
  2. Convenience – No pre-registration and no new mobile software is required.
  3. Easy – It's just another option during the checkout process.
  4. Fast – Most transactions are completed in less than 10 seconds.
  5. Proven – 70% of all digital content purchased online in some parts of Asia uses the Direct Mobile Billing method [16]

SMS/USSD-based transactional payments

Premium SMS and premium MMS

In the predominant model for SMS payments, the consumer sends a payment request via an SMS text message or an USSD to a short code and a premium charge is applied to their phone bill or their online wallet. The merchant involved is informed of the payment success and can then release the paid for goods. [17]

Since a trusted physical delivery address has typically not been given, these goods are most frequently digital with the merchant replying using a Multimedia Messaging Service to deliver the purchased music, ringtones, wallpapers etc.

A Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) can also deliver barcodes which can then be scanned for confirmation of payment by a merchant. This is used as an electronic ticket for access to cinemas and events or to collect hard goods.

Transactional payments by SMS have been popular in Asia and Europe and are now accompanied by other mobile payment methods,[ citation needed ] such as mobile web payments (WAP), mobile payment client (Java ME, Android...) and Direct Mobile Billing.

Inhibiting factors of Premium SMS include:[ citation needed ]

  1. Poor reliability – transactional premium SMS payments can easily fail as messages get lost.
  2. Slow speed – sending messages can be slow and it can take hours for a merchant to get receipt of payment. Consumers do not want to be kept waiting more than a few seconds.
  3. Security – The SMS/USSD encryption ends in the radio interface, then the message is a plaintext.
  4. High cost – There are many high costs associated with this method of payment. The cost of setting up short codes and paying for the delivery of media via a Multimedia Messaging Service and the resulting customer support costs to account for the number of messages that get lost or are delayed.
  5. Low payout rates – operators also see high costs in running and supporting transactional payments which results in payout rates to the merchant being as low as 30%. Usually around 50%
  6. Low follow-on sales – once the payment message has been sent and the goods received there is little else the consumer can do. It is difficult for them to remember where something was purchased or how to buy it again. This also makes it difficult to tell a friend.

Remote payment by SMS and credit card tokenization=

Even as the volume of Premium SMS transactions have flattened, many cloud-based payment systems continue to use SMS for presentment, authorization, and authentication, [18] while the payment itself is processed through existing payment networks such as credit and debit card networks. These solutions combine the ubiquity of the SMS channel, [19] with the security and reliability of existing payment infrastructure. Since SMS lacks end-to-end encryption, such solutions employ a higher-level security strategies known as 'tokenization' and 'target removal' [20] whereby payment occurs without transmitting any sensitive account details, username, password, or PIN.

To date, point-of-sales mobile payment solutions have not relied on SMS-based authentication as a payment mechanism, but remote payments such as bill payments, [21] seat upgrades on flights, [22] and membership or subscription renewals are commonplace.

In comparison to premium short code programs which often exist in isolation, relationship marketing and payment systems are often integrated with CRM, ERP, marketing-automation platforms, and reservation systems. Many of the problems inherent with premium SMS have been addressed by solution providers. Remembering keywords is not required since sessions are initiated by the enterprise to establish a transaction specific context. Reply messages are linked to the proper session and authenticated either synchronously through a very short expiry period (every reply is assumed to be to the last message sent) or by tracking session according to varying reply addresses and/or reply options. [23]

Mobile web payments (WAP)

Mobile payment system in Norway. Mobile payment 01.jpg
Mobile payment system in Norway.

The consumer uses web pages displayed or additional applications downloaded and installed on the mobile phone to make a payment. It uses WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) as underlying technology and thus inherits all the advantages and disadvantages of WAP. Benefits include: [24] [ citation needed ]

  1. Follow-on sales where the mobile web payment can lead back to a store or to other goods the consumer may like. These pages have a URL and can be bookmarked making it easy to re-visit or share.
  2. High customer satisfaction from quick and predictable payments
  3. Ease of use from a familiar set of online payment pages

However, unless the mobile account is directly charged through a mobile network operator, the use of a credit/debit card or pre-registration at online payment solution such as PayPal is still required just as in a desktop environment.

Mobile web payment methods are now being mandated by a number of mobile network operators.

Direct operator billing

Direct operator billing, also known as mobile content billing, WAP billing, and carrier billing, requires integration with the mobile network operator. It provides certain benefits:

  1. Mobile network operators already have a billing relationship with consumers, the payment will be added to their bill.
  2. Provides instantaneous payment
  3. Protects payment details and consumer identity
  4. Better conversion rates
  5. Reduced customer support costs for merchants
  6. Alternative monetization option in countries where credit card usage is low

One of the drawbacks is that the payout rate will often be much lower than with other mobile payments options. Examples from a popular provider:

More recently, Direct operator billing is being deployed in an in-app environment, where mobile application developers are taking advantage of the one-click payment option that Direct operator billing provides for monetising mobile applications. This is a logical alternative to credit card and Premium SMS billing.

In 2012, Ericsson and Western Union partnered to expand the direct operator billing market, making it possible for mobile operators to include Western Union Mobile Money Transfers as part of their mobile financial service offerings. [26] Given the international reach of both companies, the partnership is meant to accelerate the interconnection between the m-commerce market and the existing financial world. [27]

Contactless near-field communication

Near-field communication (NFC) is used mostly in paying for purchases made in physical stores or transportation services. A consumer using a special mobile phone equipped with a smartcard waves his/her phone near a reader module. Most transactions do not require authentication, but some require authentication using PIN, before transaction is completed. The payment could be deducted from a pre-paid account or charged to a mobile or bank account directly.

Mobile payment method via NFC faces significant challenges for wide and fast adoption, due to lack of supporting infrastructure, complex ecosystem of stakeholders, and standards. [28] Some phone manufacturers and banks, however, are enthusiastic. Ericsson and Aconite are examples of businesses that make it possible for banks to create consumer mobile payment applications that take advantage of NFC technology. [29]

NFC vendors in Japan are closely related to mass-transit networks, like the Mobile Suica used on the JR East rail network. Osaifu-Keitai system, used for Mobile Suica and many others including Edy and nanaco, has become the de facto standard method for mobile payments in Japan. Its core technology, Mobile FeliCa IC, is partially owned by Sony, NTT DoCoMo and JR East. Mobile FeliCa utilize Sony's FeliCa technology, which itself is the de facto standard for contactless smart cards in the country.

Other NFC vendors mostly in Europe use contactless payment over mobile phones to pay for on- and off-street parking in specially demarcated areas. Parking wardens may enforce the parkings by license plate, transponder tags or barcode stickers. First conceptualized in the 1990s, [ citation needed ] the technology has seen commercial use in this century in both Scandinavia and Estonia. End users benefit from the convenience of being able to pay for parking from the comfort of their car with their mobile phone, and parking operators are not obliged to invest in either existing or new street-based parking infrastructures. Parking wardens maintain order in these systems by license plate, transponder tags or barcode stickers or they read a digital display in the same way as they read a pay and display receipt.

Other vendors use a combination of both NFC and a barcode on the mobile device for mobile payment, because many mobile devices in the market do not yet support NFC. [30]


QR code payments

QR Codes 2D barcode are square bar codes. QR codes have been in use since 1994. [31] Originally used to track products in warehouses, QR codes were designed to replace traditional (1D bar codes). Traditional bar codes just represent numbers, which can be looked up in a database and translated into something meaningful. QR, or “Quick Response” bar codes were designed to contain the meaningful info right in the bar code.

QR Codes can be of two main categories: [32] [ citation needed ]

Mobile self-checkout allows for one to scan a QR code or barcode of a product inside a brick-and-mortar establishment in order to purchase the product on the spot. This theoretically eliminates reduces the incidence of long checkout lines, even at self-checkout kiosks.

Cloud-based mobile payments

Google, PayPal, GlobalPay and GoPago use a cloud-based approach to in-store mobile payment. The cloud based approach places the mobile payment provider in the middle of the transaction, which involves two separate steps. First, a cloud-linked payment method is selected and payment is authorized via NFC or an alternative method. During this step, the payment provider automatically covers the cost of the purchase with issuer linked funds. Second, in a separate transaction, the payment provider charges the purchaser's selected, cloud-linked account in a card-not-present environment to recoup its losses on the first transaction. [33] [34] [35]

Audio signal-based payments

The audio channel of the mobile phone is another wireless interface that is used to make payments. Several companies have created technology to use the acoustic features of cell phones to support mobile payments and other applications that are not chip-based. The technologies Near sound data transfer (NSDT), Data Over Voice and NFC 2.0 produce audio signatures that the microphone of the cell phone can pick up to enable electronic transactions. [36]

Direct carrier/bank co-operation

In the T-Cash [37] model, the mobile phone and the phone carrier is the front-end interface to the consumers. The consumer can purchase goods, transfer money to a peer, cash out, and cash in. [38] A 'mini wallet' account can be opened as simply as entering *700# on the mobile phone, [39] presumably by depositing money at a participating local merchant and the mobile phone number. Presumably, other transactions are similarly accomplished by entering special codes and the phone number of the other party on the consumer's mobile phone.

Bank transfer systems

Swish is the name of a system established in Sweden. [40] It was established through a collaboration from major banks in 2012 and has been very successful, with 66 percent of the population as users in 2017. [41] It is mainly used for peer-to-peer payments between private people, but is also used by church collect, street vendors and small businesses. A person's account is tied to his or her phone number and the connection between the phone number and the actual bank account number is registered in the internet bank. The electronic identification system mobile BankID, issued by several Swedish banks, is used to verify the payment. Users with a simple phone or without the app can still receive money if the phone number is registered in the internet bank. Like many other mobile payment system, its main obstacle is getting people to register and download the app, but it has managed to reach a critical mass and it has become part of everyday life for many Swedes.

Swedish payments company Trustly also enables mobile bank transfers, but is used mainly for business-to-consumer transactions that occur solely online. If an e-tailer integrates with Trustly, its customers can pay directly from their bank account. As opposed to Swish, users don't need to register a Trustly account or download software to pay with it.

The Danish MobilePay and Norwegian Vipps are also popular in their countries. They use direct and instant bank transfers, but also for users not connected to a participating bank, credit card billing.

In India, a new direct bank transfer system has emerged called as Unified Payments Interface (BHIM UPI). This system enables users to transfer money to other users and businesses in real-time directly from their bank accounts. Users download BHIM UPI supporting app on their Android or iOS device, verify their mobile number by sending one outgoing SMS to app provider, link their bank accounts basis mobile number and generate a banking PIN for secure transactions. Fund transfer can then be initiated to other users or businesses. Settlement of funds happen in real-time, i.e. money is debited from payer's bank account and credited in recipient's bank account in real-time. BHIM UPI service works 24x7, including weekends and holidays. This is slowly becoming a very popular service in India and is processing monthly payments worth approximately $10 billion as in October 2018. [42]

Mobile payment service provider model

There are four potential mobile payment models: [43]

  1. Operator-Centric Model: The mobile operator acts independently to deploy mobile payment service. The operator could provide an independent mobile wallet from the user mobile account(airtime). A large deployment of the Operator-Centric Model is severely challenged by the lack of connection to existing payment networks. Mobile network operator should handle the interfacing with the banking network to provide advanced mobile payment service in banked and under banked environment. Pilots using this model have been launched in emerging countries but they did not cover most of the mobile payment service use cases. Payments were limited to remittance and airtime top up.
  2. Bank-Centric Model: A bank deploys mobile payment applications or devices to customers and ensures merchants have the required point-of-sale (POS) acceptance capability. Mobile network operator are used as a simple carrier, they bring their experience to provide Quality of service (QOS) assurance.
  3. Collaboration Model: This model involves collaboration among banks, mobile operators and a trusted third party.
  4. Peer-to-Peer Model: The mobile payment service provider acts independently from financial institutions and mobile network operators to provide mobile payment.

See also

Related Research Articles

Near-field communication Radio communication established between devices by bringing them into proximity

Near-field communication (NFC) is a set of communication protocols that enable two electronic devices, one of which is usually a portable device such as a smartphone, to establish communication by bringing them within 4 cm of each other.

An e-commerce payment system facilitates the acceptance of electronic payment for online transactions. Also known as a subcomponent of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), e-commerce payment systems have become increasingly popular due to the widespread use of the internet-based shopping and banking.

NETS (company)

Network for Electronic Transfers or more commonly known as NETS; is a Singaporean electronic payment service provider founded in 1985 by a consortium of local banks to establish the debit network and drive the adoption of electronic payments in Singapore. It is owned by DBS Bank, OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank (UOB).

A digital wallet also known as "e-Wallet" refers to an electronic device or online service that allows an individual to make electronic transactions. This can include purchasing items on-line with a computer or using a smartphone to purchase something at a store. Money can be deposited in the digital wallet prior to any transactions or, in other cases, an individual's bank account can be linked to the digital wallet. Users might also have their driver's license, health card, loyalty card(s) and other ID documents stored within the wallet. The credentials can be passed to a merchant's terminal wirelessly via near field communication (NFC). Increasingly, digital wallets are being made not just for basic financial transactions but to also authenticate the holder's credentials. For example, a digital wallet could verify the age of the buyer to the store while purchasing alcohol. The system has already gained popularity in Japan, where digital wallets are known as "wallet mobiles". A cryptocurrency wallet is a digital wallet where private keys are stored for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

Google Pay Send Mobile payment system developed by Google

Google Pay Send, previously known as Google Wallet, was a peer-to-peer payments service developed by Google before its merger into Google Pay. It allowed people to send and receive money from a mobile device or desktop computer at no cost to either sender or receiver.

Contactless payment Technology enabling payment without physical contact.

Contactless payment systems are credit cards and debit cards, key fobs, smart cards, or other devices, including smartphones and other mobile devices, that use radio-frequency identification (RFID) or near field communication for making secure payments. The embedded chip and antenna enable consumers to wave their card, fob, or handheld device over a reader at the point of sale terminal. Contactless payments are made in close physical proximity, unlike mobile payments which use broad-area cellular or WiFi networks and do not involve close physical proximity.

SMS banking

SMS banking is a form of mobile banking. It is a facility used by some banks or other financial institutions to send messages to customers' mobile phones using SMS messaging, or a service provided by them which enables customers to perform some financial transactions using SMS.

PayMate is a Business-to-Business (B2B) digital payment company headquartered in Mumbai. It was launched in mid-2006 as India's first mobile payments provider that allowed consumers to use their mobile phones to pay for online and retail purchases, make utility bill payments, purchase tickets, etc. via their bank account, credit card or a prepaid account.

WAP billing is a mechanism for consumers to buy content from Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) sites that is charged directly to their mobile phone bill. It is an alternative payment mechanism to debit or credit cards and premium SMS for billing. Using WAP billing, consumers can buy mobile content without registering for a service or entering a username or password. The user clicks on a link and agrees to make a purchase, after which they can download content.

Alternative payments refers to payment methods that are used as an alternative to credit card payments. Most alternative payment methods address a domestic economy or have been specifically developed for electronic commerce and the payment systems are generally supported and operated by local banks. Each alternative payment method has its own unique application and settlement process, language and currency support, and is subject to domestic rules and regulations.

National Payments Corporation of India

The National Payments Corporation of India is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.

JVL Ventures, LLC d/b/a Softcard, was a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon which produced a mobile payments platform known as Softcard, which used near-field communication (NFC) technology to allow users to pay for items at stores and restaurants with credit and debit card credentials stored on their smartphones. The partnership was first announced on November 16, 2010; following a trial period in 2012, the service officially launched nationwide on November 14, 2013. The official Softcard app was available for NFC-compatible smartphones using the Android operating system and later on Windows Phone 8.1.

Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) is a company created by a consortium of U.S. retail companies to develop a merchant-owned mobile payment system, which was to be called "CurrentC." The joint venture was announced on August 15, 2012.

Apple Wallet application in iOS

Apple Wallet is a mobile app included with the iOS operating system that allows users to store Wallet-passes, meaning coupons, boarding passes, student ID cards, event tickets, movie tickets, public transportation tickets, store cards, and – starting with iOS 8.1 – credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, and loyalty cards via Apple Pay. It was designed by Apple Inc. and was presented at the 2012 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 11, 2012. The app first appeared on iOS 6 on September 19, 2012. Apple Wallet will also be the main interface with Apple Card, Apple's newly announced credit card service.

Apple Pay mobile payment and digital wallet service

Apple Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet service by Apple Inc. that allows users to make payments in person, in iOS apps, and on the web. It is supported on the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac. It digitizes and can replace a credit or debit card chip and PIN transaction at a contactless-capable point-of-sale terminal. Apple Pay does not require Apple Pay-specific contactless payment terminals; it works with any merchant that accepts contactless payments. It is similar to contactless payments, with the addition of two-factor authentication via Touch ID, Face ID, PIN, or passcode. Devices wirelessly communicate with point of sale systems using near field communication (NFC), with an embedded secure element (eSE) to securely store payment data and perform cryptographic functions, and Apple's Touch ID and Face ID for biometric authentication.

Yandex.Money is Russia's largest electronic payment service according to a 2016 survey by TNS. It is an online payment service that works with two types of clients — individual users and merchants.

Venmo is a mobile payment service owned by PayPal. Venmo account holders can transfer funds to others via a mobile phone app; both the sender and receiver have to live in the U.S. Venmo is a type of payment rail. It handled $12 billion in transactions in the first quarter of 2018.

Vipps is a Norwegian mobile payment application designed for smartphones developed by DNB. Vipps was released May 30, 2015 and by reaching 1 million users November 5, 2015 – Vipps is Norway's largest payment application. Although Vipps is developed by DNB, it is an application open for customers from any Norwegian bank

Google Pay Mobile payments platform

Google Pay is a digital wallet platform and online payment system developed by Google to power in-app and tap-to-pay purchases on mobile devices, enabling users to make payments with Android phones, tablets or watches.


KakaoPay is a mobile payment and digital wallet service by Kakao based in South Korea that allows users make mobile payments and online transactions. The service supports contactless payments using near-field communications and QR codes.


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