Forecast: Mobile Payments Continue to Rise

$507 billion.

That’s the combined net worth of the world’s ten wealthiest billionaires, according to Forbes.

It’s also the value of payments people will make using their mobile devices around the globe this year, according to a new report from Juniper Research. That’s a 40% increase over last year – something for those billionaires to envy. For everybody else, this rapid growth in mobile payments is good news.  For consumers, merchants and banks, it means we’re seeing the rise of seamless commerce that meshes with today’s mobile lifestyles both in emerging and developed countries.

From posting social updates on Facebook to connecting with a loved one on the go over Skype, mobile has significantly changed how we see the world and interact with each other. But it is probably in commerce that the transformational power of mobile has left a big mark.

Today, mobile enables a consumer in New York to simply wave her phone at the turnstile to pay for the subway fare; a fisherman in Uganda to sell the catch of the day before he reaches the dock; a city worker to send money to his family in rural Mexico; and a my gardener to accept credit card payments using a Square device.

As mobile commerce continues to grow, Visa will keep playing a vital role in making seamless commerce experiences secure, reliable and scalable. We are working on several fronts to build an ecosystem that simplifies digital commerce, including developing new standards and capabilities and supporting new stakeholders. Our goal is to duplicate the ease of the card swipe in digital channels, and make click or wave to pay as simple and secure as traditional card payments.

In markets where card payments are not prevalent, we are using mobile to leapfrog an entire generation of electronic payments technology and to include unbanked consumers in the formal financial system. So far, as an industry, we have managed to deploy 219 mobile money programs in 84 countries, registering 203 million users – nearly tripling the numbers of the past two years.

But there is much to be done if we want to connect the 1.7 billion of consumers in emerging markets that have a mobile phone and no bank account to the global economy. Our end goal here is to build open, scalable, secure, and fully-interoperable financial ecosystems like the ones we enjoy today in the developed world – a formidable challenge.

As we tackle this and new challenges, we will continue to look to innovative technologies to give people more choice, convenience, and confidence to transact seamlessly and advance commerce everywhere.

Posted by Sam Shrauger, Senior Vice President of Digital Solutions, Visa Inc.

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