Mobile payments in multichannel commerce


Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as mobile payments.

The background payment processes are always the same – on someone’s instruction money is transferred from one account to another, regardless of whether the payment was authorised by direct debit, electronic transfer, debit or credit card, or by pressing “confirm” in an app. Fundamentally, there is nothing different about the actual payment processes – they are simply adapted for mobile devices.

The fact that mobile payments are nowhere near widespread is mostly down to a lack of standards and uniform processes. Instead, payment service providers, telecoms companies, mobile manufacturers, merchants and service providers have preferred to experiment with a variety of technologies and develop their own apps and processes.

The mobile payments technology that will eventually win out will have to combine user-friendliness with strong security capabilities, but it must also come at a reasonable investment price point for merchants. In the future merchants should not only be ready for payment via smartphone. The more the boundaries between brick-and-mortar and e-commerce become blurred, the less likely customers will be to accept that certain payment options are restricted to certain channels.

Merchants should therefore select a PSP partner with international reach and an offering that includes as many alternative payment methods as possible. Ideally, they would also offer mobile payment technologies as well as the relevant certifications and an e-money license.