For merchants and consumers alike, speed of throughput at the check-out remains the primary incentive for uptake of a new payments format.
This is why SMS-based mobile phone payment programmes such as that promoted by Belgium’s Banksys and wireless operators Base, Mobistar and Proximus, will never make the cut.
It may be cool and funky to pay by cellphone, but consider the long-winded transactional requirements: “Customers using the service will receive an SMS outlining details of a transaction from the merchant. The customer then confirms the payment using a password.
Both the merchant and customer receive a text message confirming the transaction.”
Reports back from the early tests suggest an 18-second transaction time. 18 seconds!
NFC-based contactless smartcards such as MasterCard PayPass have succeeded in making inroads at the cash register because of their simplicity and convenience when compared to conventional cash and plastic.
Time trials of contactless technology
conducted by Royal Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh found that Maestro PayPass could halve the time taken for a cash transaction, making a payment possible in less than five seconds.
MasterCard - and others - are also looking to embed the wallet app into NFC-equipped mobile devices. See
this announcement by Cellular South and Kyocera Wireless of a multi-city trial of technology that enables users to make payments and purchases by simply tapping their mobiles against
an NFC-enabled wireless reader