Electronic payments transferred from a mobile phone or similar hand held device could quickly make hard cash a thing of the past for today's 15-21 year olds. A European survey by mobile phone software company m@gic4, shows that 80 per cent of the so-called M-generation would willingly ditch credit cards and coins and dial up instant payment for clothes, fast food and sporting events.
The m@gic4 research indicates that under 21's, the most prolific users of SMS text messaging, would prefer to pay through secure electronic "m-credits" if they were widely accepted. "Generation M", as they have been dubbed, would be happy to add payment for the majority of their purchases to their phone bill. The depth of their mobile phone "purse" would be dictated by their monthly income and credit rating and would appear on their phone as either a unique and constantly updated bar code display or digital data stored on the phone's computer chip.
M@gic4's marketing director Simon Wilkinson says: "Industry pundits have already predicted that m-commerce will be worth $30 billion by 2004 as the mobile Internet becomes more commonplace. But the ability to conduct secure debit transfers using mobile phones is available now through existing SMS technology. It doesn't require expensive hand-sets - just acceptance of m-currency by consumers and the banking system."
M@gic4's g@te software, which is capable of linking bar-coding technology to advanced text messaging, will be available in both Motorola and Philips mobile phones from the summer, he adds.
The survey follows a recent decision by Singaporean authorities to make cellular phone payments legal tender by 2008 in a bid to create a wireless and cashless society.