Mobile payment was supposed to have taken the center stage in 2010, but for some reason we did not witness a lot of startups with unique mobile payment products or services that could have changed the way we pay for services and products.The mobile payment space essentially involves activities such as processing payments, transferring money or paying for goods and services via your smart phone. Mobile payment has been explored enough in 2010, with smartphone producers adding and testing devices that can make their smartphones ready for such processes. Its time for brilliant and robust mobile products to take center stage. 2011 will see the proliferation of startups all focusing on providing some kind mobile payment that could replace credit cards. It will take some time for mobile payment options to become normal across the spectrum of consumer activity, but mobile payment will be the focus in 2011.

Large companies are developing smartphone apps that allow customers to pay for goods or services via their mobile phone. With the Starbucks “Mobile Card” iPhone app, for example, customers can pay for their drink at a participating location by simply holding up their registered barcode for the person behind the register.

PayPal has released an iPhone app, which allows two iPhone owners to exchange money by simply bumping phones.

Google recently acquired a Canadian startup focusing on mobile payments transactions. The acquisition strengthens Google’s position in the coming wave of near field communications (NFC) and the phone as a device for payments, tracking and identification. NFC allows ‘tap-and-go’ style payments using mobile phones at in-store terminals by incorporating contactless card technology into handsets.

Research in Motion has also filed a patent for NFC functions, and Nokia in June announced that all of its phones will have NFC capabilities by 2011.

NuMobile, Inc. has acquired Kruze Technologies Ltd, a mobile wallet operation headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. NuMobile plans to acquire and develop mobile computing solutions for a variety of applications, including mobile banking, for the global marketplace.

SMS-based transactions are used for car parking tickets and mobile commerce allows online shopping through mobile phone browsers.

The Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA) has launched a Pay-Buy-Mobile project to enable consumers to pay for goods and services via their mobile phones.

Today we have credit, debit and perhaps contactless cards. Tomorrow banks, startups and mobile network operators hope to provide mobile wallets to replace your credit and debit cards. I believe we will witness more of such technologies and devices in 2011.


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