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Gartner takes a swipe at Citi mobile trial data

18 March 2010  |  12146 views  |  1 Gartner takes a swipe at Citi mobile trial data

Gartner analyst Kristin Moyer has taken issue with recent reports praising Citi's 'Tap and Pay' mobile payments trial in India, arguing that the data released fails to back up claims made by the bank and researchers over the success of the programme.

Covering 250 merchant locations in Bengaluru, the six-month Tap and Pay project represented the largest mobile NFC proximity payment trial of its kind to date.

Describing the programme as a "watershed event" in the history of mobile financial services, consultancy Edgar Dunn and Company says the pilot successfully demonstrated clear demand for mobile proximity payments.

Noting that a total of 43,257 transactions were made over the six-month period, Moyer says the math fails to back up the assertions.

"Assuming this is approximately 180 days, that means somewhere around 240 mobile payments occurred per day," says Moyer. "With 250 participating merchants, this comes out to <1 transaction per day per merchant."

The Japanese market is often cited as a success story by proponents of contactless and mobile contactless solutions, where consumers are estimated to make 1.8 contactless retail transactions per month per contactless device, and 4.7 customers make a contactless transaction on each contactless point of sale (POS) per day.

"This is not yet a success story," says Moyer. "The estimates for the Citi trial in India and the Japanese market don't imply that adoption is insignificant, but they don't back up the success stories depicted."

Not averse to a bit of hype itself, Gartner in May last year forecast that the number of people around the world making payments using their mobile phones would soar from 43.1 million in 2008 to 73.4 million in 2009, a 70% rise.

By 2012, the company predicted the number of people making m-payments will hit 190 million - more than three per cent of total mobile users - as it becomes "mainstream".

Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 19 March, 2010, 08:44

Something didn't make sense in Citi's original article hailing the pilot to be a great success. I simply couldn't figure out how participating customers agreed to buy the NFC-enabled Nokia handset with their own money when the article itself said that most of them already had more sophisticated models that were less clunky. Kudos to Gartner for pointing out that there was fewer than one NFC transaction per merchant per day. With such a low number, it's a stretch to call this pilot successful.   

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