Consumers are increasingly using their cell phones for financial transactions, and users are expected to spend $1.6 billion via mobile commerce this year, according to a new report from ABI Research.
In the report, titled "Mobile Money Services And Contactless Payment Forecasts," ABI said the growth is primarily being driven by SMS, mobile Internet, and mobile app forms of payment.
"Mobile Internet shopping is the largest piece of the action," Mark Beccue, a senior analyst at the research firm, said in a statement. "Thanks to red-hot smartphone adoption, an increasing number of subscribers are shopping at mobile commerce sites such as Amazon and eBay."
Near-Field Communication was once seen as the "holy grail" of mobile commerce because the wireless technology potentially enables a phone to be used as a secure, contactless way to pay for merchandise. Cell phone manufacturer Nokia is making strong pushes for NFC by releasing a 3G handset with this technology. But the research firm said NFC has failed to meet expectations primarily because of "unclear business models."
The demand for mobile money services is increasing globally, but there are different catalysts. In industrialized countries, mobile users are becoming familiar and comfortable with using cell phones for more than just voice communication. In developing nations, mobile financial services are popular as an alternative to scarce financial institutions.
The increased demand for mobile money services should bode well for the likes of PayPal, Obopay, Visa, and MasterCard. All of these payment companies have recently taken steps to bolster their presence in the mobile market.
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